According to Airbus' latest Global Market forecast (GMF) carriers in the Middle East will require 1,921 new passenger and freighter aircraft (above 100 seats) between 2011 and 2030 valued at US$347.4 billion. Of these, 1,882 are passenger aircraft (US$336.3 billion) and 39 are freighter aircraft (US$11.1billion).
The main drivers of the continued strong demand for new aircraft include fleet expansion and replacement, greater urbanisation, an increasing number of mega cities and the overall ongoing expansion of the region as a geographical hub and tourist destination. With today's aircraft capabilities every major destination around the globe is within reach of a direct flight from the Middle East.
These factors are driving an above average passenger demand growth rate of 6.4 per cent per year which is well above the world average 4.8 per cent over the next 20 years. This above average growth rate will result in the almost trebling of the regions fleet from over 800 aircraft today to some 2,260 by 2030.
Middle Eastern carriers are increasingly choosing larger aircraft due to the growing number of global hubs in the region, and particularly within aircraft families for the reduced training and maintenance costs, reduced fuel burn and environmental benefits they bring.
The region's new passenger aircraft requirement includes: 779 single-aisle aircraft, such as the A320 Family valued at US$57.3 billion; 801 twin-aisle aircraft such as the A350 XWB valued at US$179.8 billion and 302 very large aircraft (VLA) such as the A380 valued at US$99.2 billion. Of these 1,442 aircraft will be necessary for growth and 440 for replacing ageing aircraft with newer more eco-efficient models. In the freighter aircraft category, there will be a demand for 13 twin-aisle aircraft and 26 VLA aircraft.
"The Middle East remains one of the world's most robust aviation regions and this is confirmed by a 200 per cent increase in inter-regional passenger traffic over the last 10 years," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. "The region is uniquely placed with more than 85 per cent of the world's population within reach of a direct flight, making the Middle East a fertile market place for our eco-efficient aircraft today and beyond."
Globally, there is a move towards larger aircraft in all size categories to help absorb growing passenger numbers despite infrastructure constraints. The region is already the world's busiest for the world's most advanced aircraft, the A380, and this will continue to increase.