Both Boeing and Airbus have released their long term forecasts of passenger and cargo traffic, as well as regional-jet manufacturers, Bombardier and Embraer. Routesonline are taking a look at the long term forecasts to assess the potential outlook for each region over the next 20 years.
Located at the crossroads between Asia, Africa and Europe, airlines in the Middle East are well positioned to compete for traffic connecting these regions. About 80 percent of the world’s population live within an eight-hour flight of the Gulf, according to Boeing, allowing carriers to aggregate traffic at their hubs.
Boeing has estimated a total of 3,180 new airplanes will be delivered to the Gulf between 2015 and 2034, 44 percent of which will be single-aisle aircraft. Small widebody and medium widebody aircraft account for 18 and 28 percent of deliveries respectively, while large widebodies account for 9 percent of overall estimated deliveries – the greatest number of any region. Meanwhile, Regional jets are expected to account for a mere 1 percent in deliveries to the Middle East.
Airbus has predicted that the Middle East will see a 6.7 percent growth over the next twenty years – the highest prediction of any region. The Gulf will register 13 percent of the world’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) in 2034, up from 9 percent in 2014.
The region’s low-cost carriers have reduced short-haul fares, setting up cross-border subsidiaries and developing mobile booking portals to improve access to air services, according to Boeing.
Despite immense progress and growth in the region, challenges still remain as large sections of airspace remain under military control; reducing the available airspace for commercial traffic.
In terms of business and regional aircraft, Embraer has forecast that 220 70 to 130-seat jets will be delivered to the Gulf over the next 20 years – only 4 percent of the worldwide forecast. The numbers are even lower in terms of the forecast for the 70+ turboprop segment, with the Middle East expected to receive 2 percent of the worldwide deliveries, or 40 aircraft, overall.
In terms of the 130 to 210-seat jet segment, the region is expected to receive 1,390 aircraft over the next 20 years, a 6 percent share of worldwide deliveries.
Bombardier on the other hand has predicted a total of 400 units to be delivered to the Gulf between 2015 and 2024, totalling $15 billion in revenue. It remains a promising market according to Bombardier, with long distances between cities and difficult ground transportation justifying the need for business aviation.
Medium and large category aircraft remain the aircraft of choice, according to the manufacturer, dominating 85 percent of deliveries combined, meaning that light aircraft deliveries will only make up a total of 15 percent of Middle Eastern deliveries, according to Bombardier.
Airlines in the Middle East have taken advantage of their strategic geographic location to build global networks that efficiently connect passengers through their hubs, according to Embraer. Consequently, the region is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, with strong 13 percent traffic growth, according to IATA.
In the last decade, ASKs have almost quadrupled thanks to capacity increased from Emirates, Qatar and Etihad. The flagship carriers accounted for 70 percent of the totals ASKs flown by Middle Eastern airlines in 2014, according to Embraer.