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22 February 2024

Regional aviation sector set to grow despite global crisis

The biggest obstacle for the regional aviation sector would be volatile fuel prices. (DENNIS B MALLARI)

By Staff Writer

The Middle East airline industry will continue its growth over the next five years, indicating a bullish attitude amid the current global gloom, according to aviation experts.

The finding was a part of the survey conducted by Terrapinn, a business media company to be holding the second Middle East Aviation Outlook Summit in Abu Dhabi in March.

The survey, conducted among more than 400 top executives from the aviation industry from around the world and the Middle East, revealed 90 per cent of the respondents are still upbeat about the Middle East aviation industry.

It added 50 per cent respondents stated growth will continue due to government support, followed by geographic location, the strength of regional economies and consumer's purchasing power.

Industry experts said the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are likely to continue with a large proportion of their investment plans. These include mega aviation infrastructure projects, airport expansions and new airports.

Dubai, for instance, has just awarded a Dh4.9 billion ($1.3 billion) contract to build a new concourse at the international airport, with the completion scheduled by the end of April 2011.

"There will be challenges ahead and the industry is already forecasting risks and opportunities in one of the most distressed global financial environments in decades," said Hifazat Ahmad, General Manager, Terrapinn Middle East.

Meanwhile, the majority of respondents – 65 per cent – thought the biggest obstacle to the regional aviation growth in the next 12 months was volatile fuel prices, followed by operational efficiency, government policy and recruitment of pilots.