Airport Show
17-19 May 2022

Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group

Tracking the Bounce Back – ME Aviation is on the rise again

There’s plenty to be positive about this month, as the skies over the Middle East become busier and key airlines and airports make their plans for a return to a degree of normalcy and stability in the coming months.

At the macro level, IATA announced recently that it believes the Global domestic air travel market should return to around 96% of pre-crisis levels in the second half of 2021, and subsequently reach pre-COVID levels of demand by Q3 of 2024. Successful national vaccination programmes, resulting in the relaxation of domestic and regional travel restrictions, are helping to allow pent-up travel demand to finally start to be satisfied. While the Middle East may follow a slower recovery path in passenger numbers that’s inching upwards rather than leaping, demand is returning as borders open up.

As for individual airlines, success stories are starting to emerge. This month, low-cost airline Air Arabia posted profits of $12 million for the first half of 2021, with three consecutively profitable months and a 126% rise in passenger numbers compared to the same period in 2020. This is emblematic of the ME aviation industry’s need to reconsider the reality of air travel now and into the future, with airlines repositioning themselves to be more efficient and targeted in their operations, in a manner that better reflects evolving demand trends. Etihad’s wholesale restructuring to become a mid-sized carrier is another clear example of how the market is changing, and how airlines are changing with it.