Middle East air travel leads global aviation

Middle East air travel leads global aviation

The Middle East aviation sector is leading a global revival of air travel growth, recording a year-on-year double digit increase of international passengers, according to the latest report released by the International Air Transport Association.

The Air Passenger Market Analysis report said that Middle East carriers continue to experience the strongest rates of international passenger growth, with year-to-date Revenue Passenger Kilometres growing by 12.2 per cent from August 2012 to August 2013.

In comparison to a global average RPK increase of 5.5 per cent year-on-year, the strong growth trend is likely to continue, with European airline manufacturer Airbus predicting that Middle East airlines will buy 1,000 of its aircraft, worth US$124 billion, over the next ten years.

Much of the growth of air travel from the region is driven by tourism along with a large expatriate population, in particular in the GCC, where nearly 50 million expatriate residents travel home or to other global destinations on their annual vacations.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the Middle East generated US$78.1 billion in visitor exports in 2012, while this year the region is expected to have attracted 57 million international tourist arrivals.