Air Transport Capacity in Middle East – A Market Snapshot

The Silk Road has existed for thousands of years, passing through many different empires, kingdoms, reigns and societies throughout history. At certain times in its long history, traders could travel freely along these routes, whereas at others, travel was difficult or dangerous. The Silk Road enriched the countries it passed through, transporting cultures, religions, languages and of course material goods into societies across Europe, Asia and Africa, and uniting them all with a common thread of cultural heritage and plural identities.

There are over 40 countries today alongside the historic Land and Maritime Silk Roads, all still bearing witness to the impact of these routes in their culture, traditions and customs.  But, what are the largest aviation systems, airlines and airports along the modern day Silk Road routing? In a special capacity analysis report to support the forthcoming Routes Silk Road forum in Tbilisi, Georgia we look in greater detail at aviation within the Middle East and from the region to the rest of the world.

On scheduled air services within the Middle East, air capacity is dominated by Dubai International Airport, and its rise continues with its share of intra-Middle East capacity rising from 10.2 per cent in 2009 to 12.9 per cent in 2013, showing the airport is key for travel across the region and not just providing hub connections into long-haul markets. Qatar Airways’ operation of single aisle aircraft and network strategy has helped boost Doha International Airport’s capacity share from 6.2 per cent in 2009 to 7.0 per cent in 2013. However, despite the growth of these two airports it is actually AMB (up 62.8 per cent) and Abha Airport (up 60.9 per cent) that reported the largest capacity growth of the region’s 20 largest airports between 2009 and 2013.

In terms of airlines, although the ‘big guns’ of Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways have increased capacity by a whopping 56.4 per cent and 45.8 per cent, respectively, during the five-year analysis period it is Saudia that dominates the intra-Middle East market thanks, in part, to its extensive domestic network. The carrier is also continuing to grow with capacity up 28.1 per cent between 2009 and 2013. The big story though is the emergence of the low-cost carriers in the region with Air Arabia’s capacity rising 68.3 per cent, nasair up 693.5 per cent and flydubai increasing 2,372.1 per cent.

Looking at schedule data for the past two years shows that seat capacity on flights within and from the Middle East grew 4.7 per cent in 2013, versus 2012, with departures up by a shallower rate of 2.1 per cent.  In the tables, below, we highlight the largest airlines and airports in this market by seat capacity in 2013 and compare this with the previous year.

The data is all supplied by OAG Aviation using its OAG Schedules Analyser tool.

SCHEDULED AIR CAPACITY WITHIN AND FROM THE MIDDLE EAST (non-stop departures; 2013)

Rank

Airport

Available Seats

% Share

% Change v 2012

1

Emirates Airline (EK)

29,617,006

17.0 %

15.4 %

2

Saudia (SV)

26,553,021

15.2 %

0.8 %

3

Qatar Airways (QR)

16,652,426

9.5 %

12.7 %

4

Etihad Airways (EY)

9,436,667

5.4 %

10.9 %

5

flydubai (FZ)

8,465,259

4.8 %

23.8 %

6

Air Arabia (G9)

5,343,084

3.1 %

17.7 %

7

Gulf Air (GF)

5,168,877

3.0 %

(-15.6) %

8

Oman Air (WY)

4,846,728

2.8 %

13.3 %

9

Iran Air (IR)

4,745,965

2.7 %

(-7.6) %

10

Iran Aseman Airlines (EP)

4,308,927

2.5 %

(-7.2) %

11

Flynas - National Air Services (XY)

4,059,318

2.3 %

58.7 %

12

Royal Jordanian (RJ)

3,617,524

2.1 %

(-4.2) %

13

EgyptAir (MS)

2,762,467

1.6 %

(-6.4) %

14

Turkish Airlines (TK)

2,719,065

1.6 %

11.2 %

15

El Al (LY)

2,622,154

1.5 %

3.5 %

TOTAL

174,618,945

-

4.7 %

SCHEDULED AIR CAPACITY WITHIN AND FROM THE MIDDLE EAST (non-stop departures; 2013)

Rank

Airline

Available Seats

% Share

% Change v 2012

1

Dubai (DXB)

42,608,114

24.4 %

12.6 %

2

Doha (DOH)

16,649,085

9.5 %

10.7 %

3

Jeddah (JED)

15,808,675

9.1 %

6.3 %

4

Riyadh (RUH)

13,195,863

7.6 %

5.9 %

5

Abu Dhabi (AUH)

11,086,691

6.3 %

12.3 %

6

Tel Aviv (TLV)

7,278,041

4.2 %

7.1 %

7

Kuwait (KWI)

6,879,151

3.9 %

(-0.9) %

8

Muscat (MCT)

5,750,161

3.3 %

6.8 %

9

Bahrain (BAH)

5,709,878

3.3 %

(-19.9) %

10

Dammam (DMM)

4,824,935

2.8 %

10.8 %

11

Sharjah (SHJ)

4,699,964

2.7 %

15.0 %

12

Amman (AMM)

4,563,283

2.6 %

2.3 %

13

Tehran (THR)

4,532,606

2.6 %

(-11.8) %

14

Beirut (BEY)

4,148,570

2.4 %

(-11.3) %

15

Tehran (IKA)

2,662,060

1.5 %

6.6 %

TOTAL

174,618,945

-

4.7 %

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