The aviation sector now contributes more than Dhs 145 billion ($39.47 billion) to the UAE’s economy, or 14.7 per cent to the national GDP, according to Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation.
“This contribution is projected to grow further in the coming years and as such justifies the country’s huge investment in airports and airline networks. Aviation and logistics have had a major impact on other economic sectors such as tourism, hospitality, trade and finance, and activity in one spurs growth in the others,” Sheikh Ahmed said, reported Dubai based Gulf News on Wednesday.
At present, the aviation sector contributes “nearly $22 billion, or 28 per cent of Dubai’s gross domestic product, it also plays a key role in diversifying the emirate’s economy,” a press statement noted.
“Dubai has set a successful model,” said Raju Menon, a Managing partner at Morrison Menon, which is based in Dubai.
There are five national airlines.
In other countries in the region, nearly $190 billion has been allocated to invest in the airports, in what Menon described as “realistic and justified” figures.
Passenger traffic in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has also grown by an average of 10 per cent annually during the period of 2002 to 2010.
At the same time, Middle East airports are expected to receive nearly 400 million passengers by 2020, according to aviation officials.
In May, Dubai hosts “the Middle East’s largest event dedicated to airport technologies, operations and infrastructure.”
Dubai is currently executing its planned investment of $7.73 billion to implement the fourth phase of Dubai Airport’s expansion and increase its capacity to over 90 million passengers annually to meet the future growth needs. Dubai’s air passenger traffic has doubled in the last five years, and its airport is now the world’s third largest.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) is investing a similar amount $6.8 billion to expand annual capacity to 40 million passengers – the project is expected to be completed by 2015-2016.
Saudi Arabia has signed a deal to invest approximately Dhs 27 billion ($7,351,139,535.69) on the new airport project in Jeddah, while expansions are also in place in Riyadh and other regional airports.
In Oman, the Muscat and Salalah airports are being developed to handle roughly 10 million passengers, annually.
Kuwait has unveiled a whopping $6 billion expansion plan to expand the airport’s capacity from six million passengers per year to 20 million passengers per year and turn the airport into a major passenger and cargo hub.
Qatar has announced plans to spend another $2 billion in addition to the $15.5 billion already allocated for the Doha airport expansion.