The aviation industry is one of the biggest and most important sectors in the world. The Middle Eastern market has been driving growth for years, but will it be able to maintain its strong market presence against rising competition from other areas?
Dubai was once little more than a village, with only 25,000 people living there. Today it is one of the most famous cities in the world, a metropolis with over three million residents. Dubai Airport now handles ninety million travelers a year, almost all of which are from abroad. It is the busiest airport in the world in terms of international traffic, and was instrumental in the region’s prodigious aviation success. In nine years, the number of passengers passing through the airport has almost doubled, and in 2014 Dubai International Airport officially overtook London Heathrow as the busiest international hub in the world.
Middle East Airports and the airlines that call the area home are crucially important to the growth of the local economies due to the central location in the globe and the airlines networks, which means almost no country is out of reach. This means a great deal of income from transit passengers as travellers from all over the world can use the region as a hub to transit on to other destinations. It also means global businesses can use the region as a hub due to the great network links and as well as a location to bring business people together from Asia, Africa, and the West in a central location.
There are also plans to build another airport forty miles to the south at a cost of around $32 billion. It’s reported that this new airport will be able to service around 260 million passengers, bringing a big boost to the economy, and the industry as a whole.
Abu Dhabi also developed their airport, building new terminals in 2005 and 2009, and yet another should be completed in the next year. Qatar’s new Hamad International Airport already sees around 35 million passengers a year, so it’s clear that the region plays a big role in the aviation industry.
Growth from China and India threatens the Middle East’s aviation industry. Over the next decade we are likely to see massive growth from both of these industrial superpowers.
2018 already saw the Middle East’s growth slow down, it could be that over the next five years increased competition eats into what would have increasingly high profits.
India’s aviation industry has seen fantastic growth over the last few years, and will likely continue to become more of a world presence. In doing so, it may take air traffic away from the Middle East, or soak up investment that might otherwise have gone towards the market. However, the Middle East has the highest ratio of orders to fleet in service of any region in the world, meaning it will still be a contender in the market no matter what might happen in the future.
The advent of more economical aircraft means that more and more flights will be able to fly from the UK and Europe to Asia and even Australia without layover. This could mean a reduced need for airport capacity, meaning the UAE and others will have to focus harder on attracting tourists directly to the country.
Whatever happens, the region will always remain a hub of inter-connectivity for connecting flights, and will be a great location for the industry for years to come.
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