Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sustaining The Growth, MENA's Airports

MENA is the fastest growing region in terms of Passenger growth, around 15% against a global average of 6% and Air Freight growth of 14.7% against a global decline of -1.5%. To sustain this growth most of the airlines of the region are still taking deliveries of aircraft or have just concluded fleet renewals and expansions. However, this is only part of the sustainability picture, the other part being infrastructure.

Airports or lack of them have been the industry's biggest problem, but not in MENA. In March/April 2013 two (2) major airports would have come online and;

1. Amman Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) opened the new terminal on 14 March 2013  
    providing a  nine (9) million passengers annual capacity. The final phase will bring that capacity   
    to twelve (12) million passengers.
2. Doha's Hamad International Airport (HIA) will open Concourse B from 1 April 2013 with ten (10) 
    airlines operating (Air Arabia, Air India Express, Biman Bngladesh Airlines, flydubai, Iran Air, 
    Nepal Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, RAK Airways, Syrian Air and Yemen Airways) thirty 
    two (32) passenger flights daily. Qatar Airways will move to Concourse A by the end of this year.
3. Sharjah International Airport having handled seven and half (7.5) million passengers in 2012 is 
    working on a new master plan for the airport expansion by the end of this year and sign the 
    contract for the expansion.
4. GACA in Saudi Arabia is accelerating the building of a new modern world class airport at the 
    coastal city of Jazan to replace the existing airport.

On the other hand, it was announced that a new route linking Aqaba directly to Istanbul starting in April 2013 to boost tourism to Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum areas.

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