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IATA: Aviation, tourism add $35bn to UAE’s GDP

Sectors’ contribution to GDP is forecast to reach ten per cent next year

The aviation and tourism industries contribute $35 billion to the gross domestic product of the United Arab Emirates and generate more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to aviation industry sources.

The contribution of the aviation and tourism sectors to the UAE’s GDP is forecast to reach ten per cent next year, according to Hussein Dabbas, the International Air Traffic Association’s (IATA) regional vice-president for the Middle East and North Africa.

Dabbas emphasised that the aviation industry remains a major underpinning of the Middle East and African economies, employing two million people and adding $116bn to the GDPs.

In remarks published by Al-Ittihad, he commended the Gulf governments for attaching a great deal of attention to this key industry.

Despite current challenges, Dabbas adds that the aviation industry in the region will continue to grow, noting that the region’s airports handle 1m flights a year and 140m passengers in 2014.

He indicated that Middle Eastern and North African airline companies are expected to collect $1.8bn in earnings this year.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s director-general and CEO, said the MENA region invested more than $200bn in more than 1,000 aircraft since 2005 and plans to spend another $200bn in the next ten years.

He noted that more than $100bn has been spent on airport construction and expansion projects, especially in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman, Doha and Jordan.

Tyler also said that the MENA region will continue to see global growth in passenger traffic with 4.6 per cent a year until 2034.

($1 = AED3.67, at the time of publishing)