More than $100 billion will be invested in aviation infrastructure in the GCC over the next few years to cope with passenger numbers that have grown annually by 10%, Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) said in its latest report.
It said that current capacity utilization in the GCC stood at more than 115%. Currently, there are 37 main civil airports in the GCC region. Of these, more than 30 are in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Saudi Arabia has 4 international airports and 22 domestic airports; its international airports account for 85% of passenger traffic.
Airbus predicted that by 2028 the Middle East fleet will treble in size while Boeing forecast that the Middle Eastern airlines will require 2,340 aircraft by 2029 at a total value of $390 billion.
The International Air Transport Association has downgraded expected profits in 2011 for Middle East airlines from $800 million to $100 million, mainly due to unrest. "Consequently, GCC governments have ratcheted up investment in the upgrading and expansion of airports to satisfy existing demand and achieve future strategic goals."
"These investments are in the neighborhood of $104 billion over the coming few years, concentrated primarily in the UAE," it added.
By 2020 Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad will have the capacity to carry nearly 200 million passengers: four times their current capacity.
By 2015, the Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi airports will reach an annual capacity of 190 million passengers, it added.
Source: Saudi Gazette; Markaz