Fourteen airlines have now confirmed their participation at Connect Middle East, India & Africa – co-located with Arabian Travel Market.
Both events will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 30th-May 1st.
Senior network planning teams from Emirates, Etihad, flydubai, Air Arabia, Air Asia, EgyptAir, flyadeal, Ethiopian Airlines, Global Airways, Atlas Global, Germania, Mahan Air, Royal Air Maroc and Titan Airways will attend the inaugural route development forum.
Throughout 2018, GCC airlines have added 58 new flight routes – focusing on areas of consistent and substantial growth - according to research from Colliers International based on a sample of ten airlines including Emirates, Etihad, flydubai, Salaam Air, Oman Air, Gulf Air, Saudia, flyadeal, Air Arabia and IndiGo Airlines.
Nick Pilbeam, divisional director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said: “With two thirds of the world’s population within an eight-hour flight from the GCC, it is an ideal base for exploring some of the world’s most interesting and previously inaccessible corners of the world.
“And the GCC’s airlines are making it even easier with the continuous addition of new and direct flight routes.”
During the period 2018-2020, as many as 14.5 million EU residents are expected to travel to the UAE, while the number of Russian visitors to the UAE is expected to increase by 69 per cent from 530,000 in 2017 to 895,700 in 2018.
Supporting this demand, Emirates have introduced new routes to London Stansted, Edinburgh, Lyon and Paris; Etihad to Barcelona; flydubai to Catania, Thessaloniki, Krakow, Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Helsinki; and Air Arabia to Prague, Moscow Sheremetyevo and Grozny.
Pilbeam, added: “The UAE’s introduction of visas on arrival for Russian tourists in 2017 has led to a huge demand for new flight routes.
“Earlier this year, Emirates announced a third daily flight to Moscow, while in September the airline confirmed that it would be the first to fly an A380 to St Petersburg.
“Historically, Europe and the UAE have enjoyed excellent travel and tourism links. Building on this, the introduction of additional flights, new routes and competitive fares are expected to continue to attract growing numbers of EU residents to the UAE.”