Dubai to become world's fourth biggest aviation hub

23.09.2009 Aviation & Space

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Dubai will become the world's fourth biggest aviation hub after Hong Kong, London Heathrow and Beijing, Airbus said in its latest projections.

By 2028 about 14 out of the world's top 20 large airports will be located in the Asia-Pacific.

Dubai has already become the world's sixth biggest aviation hub, overtaking Singapore's Changi last year, according to the Airports Council International (ACI).
Dubai Airports the operating company created to manage Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC-AMI), expects to register 8.28 per cent growth in passenger traffic to 40.5 million this year, up from 37.44 million last year," Paul Griffiths, Dubai AirportDubai Airport's chief executive, told Gulf News.

"Despite the global econ-omic conditions, we expect passenger traffic to grow 13.6 per cent next year to 46 million passengers as by then DWC-AMI will also become operational," Griffiths said.

Meanwhile, aircraft demand in the UAE for the next two decades (2009-2028) is expected to touch $114.2 billion (Dh420 billion), making the country the world's sixth biggest aviation market, according to Airbus latest Global Market Forecast.

However, this is less than what Emirates and Etihad - the UAE's two biggest airlines - had ordered over the last few years.

Combined aircraft orders by UAE-based carriers have already crossed the 400 mark with a book value exceeding $128 billion (nearly Dh470 billion) including $72 billion placed by Emirates and $43 billion announced by Etihad in recent years. UAE authorities are pumping in about Dh75 billion ($20.5 billion) to expand aviation infrastructure.

Some 25,000 new passenger and cargo aircraft valued at $3.1 trillion will be delivered worldwide from 2009 to 2028, averaging 1,248 aircraft per annum, it said.

Among these, 16,977 will be single-aisle while 6,245 are expected to be twin aisle aircraft. The rest will be very large aircraft (B747 and A380s).

Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy identified growing Middle East passenger and cargo hubs as one of the top five factors for growth in the aviation industry.

Although Asia is expected to drive the aviation industry's growth in terms of revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) or passenger traffic, the Middle East is expected to outpace all other regions.

While the US, China, UK, India and Germany occupy the top five positions in aircraft demand in both volume and value, the high demand makes the UAE the sixth biggest aircraft customer in value - meaning it will absorb mostly widebodied and high-capacity aircraft.

"The government's aviation policy has always been to maintain capacity above demand, so that we never slow down due to lack of passenger capacity. This, along with the most liberal aviation policy, will ensure continuous growth in air traffic through Dubai," said Griffiths.

When completed, Dubai's two airports will have a combined capacity of up to 250 million passengers annually, making Dubai one of the world's biggest aviation hubs.

"Air travel growth will be driven by large emerging markets and low-cost carriers (LCCs). Demand for air travel will double in the next 15 years," said John Leahy.

Airbus positive projections come just a few days after the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global aviation watchdog, increased its projected loss for the global aviation industry by $2 billion to $11 billion in 2009.

Industry revenues for the year are expected to fall by $80 billion (15 per cent) to $455 billion compared with 2008 levels.

"The bottom line of this crisis - with combined 2008-09 losses at $27.8 billion - is larger than the impact of 9/11," Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director-general and CEO, said in a teleconference last week, participated in by Gulf News.


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