Regional overview: Middle East & Africa

ASM assesses the current state of aviation in the Middle East & Africa and how 2021 is shaping up.

In line with most other regions around the world, capacity in the Middle East and Africa is down by 53% in 2020. The regions have fared slightly better than Latin America, where capacity has reduced by 55% across the year.

Although only representing 6% of global capacity, air travel remains a significant and important capability in the Middle East & Africa. As we move towards 2021, with vaccines being announced and travel corridors starting to develop, the region's position looks a lot more promising.

Capacity is currently forecast to rise by 43% next year, in line with the global position of a 42% upswing. This includes revisions made since the positive news on COVID-19 vaccines.

This average growth can be attributed to several factors. A primary one is the large share of traffic that operates on international markets—around three quarters of the total—which allows capacity to be added less easily with many severe restrictions on international travel still in place. 

Given the global nature of the big hub airports in the Middle East including Dubai (DXB), the restrictions on international traffic have been particularly hard felt. 

It is likely these cross-broader constraints with quarantines and travel bans will continue into 2021 in many regions, so capacity will be slower to be reinstated. 

Photo credit: Emirates


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