Despite the global financial meltdown, the Middle Eastern aviation industry has experienced incredible growth over the last 30 years, and estimates betoken that it’s going to follow through it in the future as well. It was announced by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference (MEBAC) that by 2020, the number of registered aircrafts is anticipated to go up from 500 to 1375. While revealing the growth figures, it was also expressed that the Middle East business aviation market, which has more than doubled over the past five years and is currently valued at $493 million, will reach a total value of one billion dollars by 2018.
The growth of the business aviation industry in the Middle East is nothing new. From 2006 to 2011, 246 business aircraft deliveries were taken, accounting for nearly 40% of the fleet in the Middle East. This signifies a 132% increase from the 106 business aircraft deliveries that were made from 2002 to 2006.
According to Hawker Beechcraft, an American aerospace manufacturing company, with 21% of the business turbine fleet, currently Saudi Arabia is the most mature market in the Middle East, whereas UAE follows with 17%. Apart from Israel, Kuwait and Iran, the region has shown substantial development with triple-digit growth in Saudi Arabia and the UAE over the past five years. Aircraft manufacturer Boeing expressed in a report that over the next two decades it anticipates the region’s airlines to order 2,370 new aircrafts valued at $470 billion, out of which 69% denote expansion of service.
By 2020, the number of air travelers going through the Middle East will increase to 400 million, which would be sustained by $90 billion investment in GCC aviation infrastructure, the expansion of flight networks and aircraft orders.
Saudi Arabia is heavily investing into airport expansion for all 27 of its existing sites. By 2015, the capacity at Riyadh International Airport will triple after the launch of a new terminal. Bahrain is planning to raise the passenger capacity by 50% by 2015. $15 billion are being invested on Qatar Airways’ expansion. Kuwait International Airport has also uncovered a $2.1 billion expansion plan, which will drive passenger capacity up to 50 million by 2017. While in the UAE, both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are moving forward with spreading out plans.
Having succeeded with its King Airline in the Middle East previously, Hawker Beechcraft says it has been strengthening its customer support network to prepare for growth by partnering with ExecuJet. Hawker Beechcraft also allied with Arabasco to hold an authorized service center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Dassault, French plane maker, has also augmented its support in the region. Moreover, it is expected for the fleet of Falcons to grow over the next 18 months.
According to Homaid Al Shemmari, Mubadala Aerospace Executive Director, although The Middle East business jet market and its infrastructure are constantly maturing, yet support and a manufacturing will be the key to progress. He stressed on focusing more on regional consolidation beyond business jet purchasing i.e. investment in manufacturing, support and supply.
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