Given that travel demand is expected to increase over the next few years, airports in the Middle East will need to invest $151 billion on capacity development.
According to ACI, a global organization of airport operators, the demand for air travel is anticipated to more than double over the next 20 years, from 9.2 billion passengers in 2019 to over 19 billion in 2040.
There is a need to increase airport capacity since the Middle East, alongside Asia Pacific, would see a growth in passenger traffic to around 11 billion by 2040, which amounts for 58% of the global volumes.
“This necessitates an investment totalling $2.4 trillion for [Middle East and Asia-Pacific] airports until 2040 to accommodate this growth,” ACI said on Thursday.
ACI’s findings reveal that not increasing airport capacity will be expensive. About 10,500 jobs would likely be lost and the gross domestic product (GDP) will decrease by $346 million for every million annual passengers that airports are unable to handle by 2040.
Despite persistent global challenges and geopolitical unrest, the aviation sector is still recovering from the COVID-19 collapse. Since the removal of travel restrictions, there has been an increase in passenger demand.
However, the ACI reports that the Ukraine conflict, rising oil costs, and inflationary pressures continue to cast “a shadow on the overall recovery of the industry.”
“The consistent improvement in passenger volumes… is a positive indication of a sustained recovery of the industry following prolonged efforts towards rebuilding passenger confidence in air travel,” said Stefano Baronci, Director General of ACIA Asia-Pacific.
Plans to construct brand-new airports from the ground up to handle rising passenger volumes are under way in some regions. There have been about 300 new airport proposals worldwide.
According to ACI, 57% of the proposed airports are in the Asia Pacific region alone, with the remainder spread between South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Emerging East Asia.
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