Dubai’s importance as a hub for carrier Emirates Airline continues to increase, along with its proportion of connections to total traffic. Connecting passengers now account for 70 percent of all traffic into and out of Dubai, Emirates reported last month. For example, on September 5, the airline’s Dubai-Glasgow flight, EK27, attracted passengers from 39 points on the globe, from Accra and Cape Town in Africa, Christchurch in New Zealand, and Tokyo and Seoul in Asia.
Fuel efficiency and its effect on the useful life of aging aircraft is a dominant factor in the thinking of aircraft leasing companies, which are increasingly helping credit-squeezed carriers to refresh their fleets. Their presence in the market for airliner acquisition has continued to grow in the last two decades, with operating leases now thought to account for almost 40 percent of total deals today.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for liberalization of the Middle East market, including new freedoms for airlines to price services and more readily access capital at a time when the industry group claims excessive regulation has stunted the growth of vital players, especially in Saudi Arabia. “Who cares who owns an airline, if it is safe and provides efficient service?” said Hussein Dabbas, IATA’s regional vice president for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), speaking last week at a seminar in Dubai organized by Embraer.
Dynamic growth in emerging economies will be the principal factor driving commercial aircraft requirements in the coming 20 years, according to Airbus. Other major contributions will come from increased global urbanization and a doubling of middle-class populations. “By 2031 the number of ‘mega-cities’ will more than double to 92, and 90 percent of the world’s traffic will be between (or through) these points,” concluded the European airframer in its new 2012-31 market forecast, released in London on September 4.
Emirates and Qantas took the wraps off a proposed global aviation partnership today that would result in the Australian flag carrier moving its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai starting next April.
Undaunted by the dominance of its Dubai and Abu Dhabi “big brothers” in the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah is pressing ahead with plans to put itself on the air transport map. After a badly timed false start at the peak of the recent financial crisis, RAK Airways will have been back in business for two years by the end of 2012, and the emirate’s airport is drawing attention for its wide-open capacity and widebodies-welcome 12,332-foot runway.
Based on growing customer demand for interior repair and refurbishment capabilities in the region, Jet Aviation Dubai expected to begin offering cabin work at its maintenance facilities at Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates in this year’s second half.
According to the Swiss-based MRO, completion and refurbishment company, the Dubai facility will provide such work as upholstery, carpeting, overhaul, headliner and side panels, chrome and gold plating, cabinetry, sheet-metal work and repair of fiberglass, plastic and composite items.
With Middle Eastern Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines experiencing exponential growth in the Arabian Gulf, there is a growing requirement for qualified pilots. The Gulf Aviation Training Event (GATE) will bring a panel of industry experts together to discuss and debate the pilot shortage in the region.
Avtech Sweden, a provider of air-traffic management services, is helping Emirates Airline develop time-based operations into its base at Dubai International Airport. The “Emirates-Flow” project could improve overall throughput and capacity at the airport, which lays claim to being the world’s fourth busiest hub for international passengers and freight.
The Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) show will be staged for the first time at Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport later this year (December 11-13). Organizers say the new location at what is also known as Dubai World Central will allow plenty of space for growth at a show that in 2010 attracted 338 exhibitors, 55 aircraft and 6,200 trade visitors.
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