Regional aviation industry to significantly blossom over coming two decades

Airbus Global Market Forecast

With passenger traffic set to grow 5.8 per cent per year over the next two decades, the fleet size of airlines from all regions serving the UAE is expected to increase from 630 in 2019 to some 1,730 aircraft by 2038, according to the 2019 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF).

This figure includes 750 small category aircraft such as the A320 and A321, and 980 medium and large aircraft, such as the A330neo and A350 serving the UAE market.

In the wider Middle East region, air passenger traffic is forecast to grow at a rate of 5.6 per cent per year, according to the 2019 Airbus GMF, which is well above the global average of 4.3 per cent per annum. Over the same period, global freight traffic will see an annual rise of 3.6 per cent, in line with the average global freight traffic growth. This will stimulate a requirement for some 3,200 aircraft out of a global requirement of 39,210 new passenger and freight aircraft.


Five of the world’s aviation mega cities are situated in the Middle East today, with two located in the UAE, namely Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These are expected to more than double to 11 over the next 20 years, to include cities such as Muscat in Oman and Kuwait City.
Tourism will continue to be a key growth sector for the Middle East, with commercial aviation a key enabler. Figures released by the World Travel and Tourism Council indicate that tourism’s contribution to Middle Eastern GDP is nearly nine per cent today.

With the Middle East region’s aviation network and traffic ever developing, Airbus forecasts a need for more than 50,000 new pilots and nearly 52,000 new technicians over the next 20 years.

The commercial aviation services market as a whole is valued at some $515 billion over the next 20 years in the region, principally in services optimising and maintaining aircraft availability such as maintenance, material management, technicians training and system upgrades, followed by flight operations services including pilot training or Air Traffic Management solutions, and finally passenger services like cabin upgrades, connectivity and ticketing.