Sustained growth in passenger traffic and aircraft size is forecasted for the Middle East

20 November 2013 Feature story

The Middle East’s strategic geographical location – combined with a sustained global expansion of the middle class – will continue this region’s dramatic air transport growth, creating the requirement for some 2,075 new passenger and freighter aircraft deliveries over the next two decades at an estimated market value of $472 billion.

Airbus’ Global Market Forecast through 2032 anticipates the Middle East will have the fastest traffic growth of any world region during the next two decades – 7.1 per cent – representing 12 per cent of the volume in terms of total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs). 

“The Middle East will continue to benefit from its location in the world – which enables flights of four hours to reach 40 per cent of the world’s population, increasing to nearly full global coverage with 16-hour flights,” explained Alan Pardoe, Airbus’ Head of Marketing Communications - Customers Affairs.  “There a few other geographical locations, if any, on Earth that can boast such an ability to serve so many markets so efficiently.  Therefore, it is really no surprise that growth rates are so phenomenal here.”

Speaking to journalists at the Dubai Airshow, Pardoe said the anticipated rise in air traffic, along with the increase of so-called “mega cities” (which accommodate from 10,000 to 50,000 long-haul passengers daily) will drive the Middle East airlines’ demand for higher-capacity jetliners.

Of the total forecasted new aircraft deliveries for the Middle East through 2032, Airbus anticipates 906 of them will be in the twin-aisle passenger jetliner category of its A350 XWB and A330, while the demand for very large transporters in the A380 category is forecasted at 390.  

Single-aisle jetliners in the class of Airbus’ A320 Family account for the remaining 779 new aircraft deliveries foreseen by the Global Market Forecast through 2032.