HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline & Group, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and chairman Dubai Airports delivered an emphatic view of the aviation industry in the region.
Sheikh Ahmed said: “Arab airlines have increasing impact and visibility on the global stage, with many countries in the Arab world recognizing the economic importance of aviation and investing in infrastructure.”
Sheikh Ahmed was addressing the attending delegates at the 47th Arab Air Carriers Organization annual general meeting (AACO AGM) in Dubai.
He further added: “Looking back in time, in 1967, the world’s airlines transported less than 300 million passengers annually. Today, airlines serve an estimated 3.3 billion passengers. What’s more, the 31 airline members of AACO are playing a bigger role in world air traffic than ever before. According to figures from Airbus, in less than 10 years between 2003-13, the number of passengers carried by airlines in Middle East and North Africa has increased by more than 300%.”
Citing IATA forecasts, Sheikh Ahmed noted that the aviation industry expects to see massive growth over the next 20 years with seven bn passengers expected to take to the skies by 2034. The Middle East region is also expected to have the highest growth rate at 4.9% per annum, the same rate as Asia Pacific, while Africa will see a growth rate of 4.7% per annum.