Aviation growth in the Middle East has been so impressive; few regions of the world can match it. In the last decade, travel to from and within the region has quadrupled earning the region the title of today’s aviation crossroads. Thanks to aircraft like the A380, the A350 XWB, the A330 and A330neo, now well over 90% of the world’s population can connect via the Middle East. Latest estimates say aviation supports two million jobs and US$116 billion in GDP in the region.
In the next 20 years (2015-2034) traffic in the Middle East will grow at 6.0% well above the world average 4.6%. This will drive a need for nearly 2,460 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at US$590 billion. Of these nearly 1,890 will be for growth and 570 for replacements. By 2034, the fleet of passenger and freighter aircraft in the Middle East region will almost treble from nearly 1,100 in 2015, to over 2,950 by 2034.
Long haul is at the heart of international traffic growth, this is possible through the use of wide-body aircraft like the A380, A330, and increasingly in the future the A350 and the A330neo. In the next 20 years, the region will require some 1,570 widebody aircraft to meet demand.
Domestic and inter-regional growth is becoming increasingly significant also growing at nearly 6%. Fuelled by urbanisation, an increase in the number of mega-cities from four to nine, and a doubling in the propensity to travel for business and tourism (leisure and cultural), by 2034, the Middle East will need an additional 890 single aisle aircraft driven by these trends.
Emerging economies are now the real engines of worldwide traffic growth. Economic growth rates in neighbouring economies such as China, India, and Africa will average 5.8% per year, doubling the number of middle classes to 4 billion people. By 2034, the 6.3 billion people in these economies will account for 40% of private worldwide consumption compared to 31% today, a trend that is good for their economies and for growth in air travel.
“The impressive rise of the Middle East as the world’s aviation crossroads is in large part due to wide-body aircraft,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “Regional and domestic routes are also growing with our single aisle products. Emerging economies with growing aspirational middle classes will continue to be a strong catalyst for air traffic growth.”
In the next 20 years (2015-2034), according to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast, global passenger traffic will grow at an average 4.6% a year, driving a need for some 32,600 new aircraft (31,800 passenger sized 100 seats and above and 800 freighters) worth US$4.7 trillion. By 2034, passenger and freighter fleets will more than double from today’s 19,000 aircraft to 38,500. Some 13,100 less fuel efficient passenger and freighter aircraft will be retired.
Average aircraft size has grown by 40 per cent since the 1980s with airlines up-sizing to make more efficiently use of slots particularly at airports where adding frequency is difficult. A focus on sustainable growth has enabled fuel burn and noise reductions of at least 70 per cent in the last 40 years and this trend continues with innovations like the A320neo, the A330neo, the A380 and the A350 XWB.