Middle East aviation sectors grows stronger

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The Middle Eastern aviation sector is posting the strongest passenger growth rates in Middle East aviation sectors grows strongerinternational air travel, far exceeding the average global growth rate.  Airports ramp up expansion plans to meet demand.
Airlines in the Middle East saw an 11.7 per cent growth in passenger volumes in May, compared with the same month last year according to sources. Globally, the aviation sector’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) grew by 5.6 per cent.  RPKs are a standard measuring unit used by the aviation industry to record passenger traffic.
IATA puts the Middle East’s growth down to the region’s growing trade volumes, with demand for travel rising as businesses look to develop new markets, such as Africa. Indeed, Africa was the second fastest growing region in terms of passenger traffic, recording a 9.8 per cent increase in RPKs in May.
In contrast, the European aviation sector lags behind the Middle East and Africa, recording a rise of 5.6 per cent in passenger volume in May while the Asia-Pacific airlines have previously been driving the global increase in passenger volumes. The region has recorded a relatively weak increase of 3.7 per cent in May, compared with the same month last year which is the second consecutive month of low growth. The slight slump in growth reflects a slowdown in economic output in the region’s major economies that includes China.
Dubai International airport continues to be one of the busiest hubs in the Middle East having a total of 5,218,832 passengers passed through the airport in May marking an 18.9 per cent increase compared with the same month last year. The airport has particularly benefited from the increased traffic following Emirates airline’s tie-up with Australia’s Qantas, which came into force at the beginning of the month. Growth in passengers is driving the airport’s expansion plans, with concourse D to be completed by the end of 2014 and the new Al-Maktoum airport at Dubai World Central to operate passenger flights from the end of October.
In Saudi Arabia, Riyadh airport is adding more capacity to meet rising demand. It is building a new Terminal 5 and has just invited firms to prequalify for work to expand the existing terminals 3 and 4.  Abu Dhabi airport is also reporting consistently strong growth figures. A total of 5.2 million passengers passed through the airport in April, a 14 per cent increase compared with the same month last year. Qatar’s Doha airport is being pushed to capacity as passenger numbers rise.