Complex Made Simple

Middle East to see 5 per cent air traveller growth by 2035

* Middle East region’s airspace will see 258 million passengers every year by 2035

* UAE is expected to witness a robust growth of 6.3 per cent

* Globally passengers will nearly double from 3.8 billion in 2016 7.2bn in 2035


With a strong five per cent growth, the Middle East region’s airspace will see 258 million passengers every year by 2035, according to the figures by The International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The region’s top market for travel, the UAE, is expected to witness a robust growth of 6.3 per cent in the number of air travellers, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia will grow by 4.7 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

Globally, the number of passengers will nearly double over the next 20 years from 3.8 billion in 2016 7.2bn in 2035.

“People want to fly. Demand for air travel over the next two decades is set to double. Enabling people and nations to trade, explore and share the benefits of innovation and economic prosperity makes our world a better place,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

With more than half the new passengers emerging from Asia Pacific, the eastern region will be he the biggest driver of demand, according to IATA.

China will displace the US as the world’s largest aviation market (defined by traffic to, from and within the country) by roughly 2029. India will displace the UK for third place in 2026, while Indonesia will enter the top ten at the expense of Italy.

Over the past decade, the developing world’s share of total passenger traffic has risen from 24 per cent to nearly 40 per cent and this trend is set to continue, IATA said.

The trade grouping of the world’s airlines however warned that a decline in economic growth will weigh on passenger growth. It said that, if the current trend towards trade protectionism gathers strength, growth could cool to 2.5 per cent annual CAGR, which would see passenger numbers reach 5.8bn by 2035.

“Economic growth is the only durable solution for the world’s current economic woes. Yet, we see governments raising barriers to trade rather than making it easier. If this continues in the long term, it will mean slower growth and the world will be poorer for it,” said de Juniac.

IATA has also said that the passenger growth will put pressure on infrastructure that is already struggling to cope with demand.

“Runways, terminals, security and baggage systems, air traffic control and a whole raft of other elements need to be expanded to be ready for the growing number of flyers. It cannot be done by the industry alone. Planning for change requires governments, communities and the industry working together in partnership,” added de Juniac.