The UAE’s national aviation sector continues to bolster the nation’s GDP, with DXB still the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic.
Now, and according to the Airports Council International (ACI) World, it is estimated that the sector is set to contribute AED 323.6 bn ($88.1 billion) to the country’s GDP by 2030, as reported by the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
“The assessment comes as yet a new international testimony to the advanced and robust infrastructure boasted by the UAE and the steady growth experienced by the aviation sector in particular,” WAM said.
The aviation sector contributed 15% to the country’s GDP in 2018, according to Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). It is expected to reach 20% over the next few years, with Emirates and Etihad Airways brands as strong internationally as they’ve ever been.
In an interview with WAM late last year, Al Suwaidi said that the UAE has invested an estimated $270 billion (AED1trn) in the aviation sector, which includes improvements to airport infrastructure and a fleet of 884 commercial aircraft.
“The UAE accounts for around 45% of the Arab aviation sector, Al Suwaidi highlighted, adding that this figure takes into consideration the number of passengers and aircraft capacity, as well as the arrival of five to six aircrafts per month to its fleet of four national carriers,” WAM reported. “[This] increased the investment potential of this sector and promises new investment opportunities for the private sector, whose investments in the industry account for 10 to 15%, compared to equivalent government investments.”
The aviation sector is a key pillar in enriching the national economy, said the UAE Minister of Economy and Chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA, in a statement late last year, as reported by WAM.
As per the ACI’s data, Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International Airport comes 19th internationally in terms of volume of freight handled. The airport, the construction of which is only partially complete, is expected to become the largest in the world with up to 160 million passenger capacity and 12 million tonnes of air freight volume annually.
The ACI ranked Abu Dhabi International Airport as the Best Airport Operator of the year category, with the Sharjah International Airport classified the country’s best third on account of an increased passenger traffic to 5.5 million in 2017.
In a preliminary report for 2018 released in March, AIC said that Dubai International Airport (DXB) remained in 3rd place in terms of the number of passengers it witnessed in 2018. “After years of double-digit percentage traffic growth, it grew by 1%,” AIC said.
There are seven intentional airports in the UAE, welcoming over 100 million passengers annually.