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Abu Dhabi aviation market set for strong growth in 2012

Posted 26/09/2012 - Viewed 5746 time(s)

Capital of the UAE to host the world’s largest civil aviation event this week

The Abu Dhabi aviation market is set for strong growth in 2012, according to the latest OAG data. Seat capacity is expected to increase to 9.9m (one-way) this year, up 12% from 8.9m in 2011. The latest numbers highlight that the capital of the United Arab Emirates is still outgrowing not just the global aviation market, but also the Middle East aviation market that expects a 6% growth in seat capacity this year.

The number of departures from Abu Dhabi International Airport is estimated to grow by 8% this year, from 50,700 to 54,600. The fact that the number of seats flown rises faster than the number of flights underlines a trend towards long-haul flights operated by larger aircraft.

Abu Dhabi’s growth as a global aviation hub is fuelled by the success of Etihad Airways, which accounts for a 71% market share in 2012. The national airline of the Emirates will offer around 7m seats at Abu Dhabi International this year, an increase of 900,000 seats or 15%. Second to Etihad are Qatar, airberlin and Air India Express which each account for 3% of the market. 

The most significant market for flights to and from Abu Dhabi is Asia, with 3.5m one-way seats flown this year, followed by the Middle East with 3m seats and Europe with 2.2m. However, the most dynamic market is currently Africa. The continent witnesses a 25% increase in seats flown (up to 672,000), with Europe and Asia being the other key growth markets (up 17% and 15% respectively). 

The latest OAG data was released ahead of the 18th World Route Development Forum which will take place from 29 September to 2 October 2012 in Abu Dhabi. It is the largest global event of its kind, determining the future of air services. Hosted by Abu Dhabi Airports Company, the 2012 event is targeted to attract over 2,750 delegates from more than 120 countries, representing over 300 airlines and 750 airports.

David Stroud, Executive Vice President, Routes comments: “The fact that Abu Dhabi one of the global centres of aviation growth makes it more than fitting that the city hosts the world’s civil aviation community this week for its largest annual gathering. The decisions that will be taken at World Routes in the coming days will shape air services for years to come.”

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Notes to Editors

About Routes

  • Routes organises world-renowned airline and airport networking events through its regional and global Route Development Forums. Each year, there is one global event and one regional event in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and CIS respectively.
  • Routes was founded in 1995 as part of the Manchester UK‐based ASM Ltd., a consultancy specialising in the field of route development for airports. www.asm‐
  • Routes and ASM were acquired by UBM Aviation Worldwide Ltd in August 2010.  From 1stAugust 2012 Routes, ASM and the Airport Cities Conference and Exhibition become part of the UBM Live division of UBM plc.
  • UBM Live connects people and creates opportunities for companies across five continents to develop new business, meet customers, launch new products, promote their brands and expand their markets.  Through premiere brands such as MD&M, CPhI, IFSEC, TFM&A, Cruise Shipping Miami, the Concrete Show, the Routes portfolio of events, Airport Cities and many others, UBM Live exhibitions, conferences, awards programs, publications, websites and training and certification programs are an integral part of the marketing plans of companies across more than 20 industry sectors.

For further press information please contact:

Victoria Jones

PR Executive

UBM Aviation Routes Limited

T: +44 (0) 161 234 2730


Follow us on twitter: @Routesonline, @TheHUBRoutes, @VictoriaRoutes, @RouteExchange, @airlineroute

About OAG

OAG is the trusted source for aviation information and analytical services, with data sourced from OAG’s comprehensive and proprietary airline Schedules, Flight Status, Fleet, and Cargo Logistics databases.  Our airline schedules database holds future and historical flight details for over 1,000 airlines and more than 4,000 airports. Our aggregated data feeds the world’s global distribution systems and travel portals, and drives the internal systems of many airlines, airports, air traffic control systems, aircraft manufacturers, and government agencies around the world.  For more information, visit