Aircraft manufacturing firm Airbus is looking to deliver 30 commercial aircraft to three UAE carriers including Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, and Air Arabia this year, a senior official confirmed.
Speaking to official news agency WAM, Marwan Lahoud, chief Strategy and Marketing officer for Airbus Group, said that the UAE is an important market for the company.
The country currently makes up around 20 per cent of Airbus’ Middle East market.
On the commercial side, the UAE is the group’s top customer in the Middle East.
“If we take Airbus Commercial, it is clear that in terms of airlines in the Gulf, the three big ones, the UAE as a country is the largest customer,” Lahoud said.
The Middle East as a whole is also a massive market and accounts for more than 20 per cent of the company’s orders globally. Over the next couple of years, Airbus expects to deliver one out of five for commercial, and one out of five for defence to the region, he added.
“If there is one region in the world where you have both that have risen to the climax, huge economic growth coupled with tremendous need for security, this region is an ideal platform for Airbus Group’s activities,” he said.
Lahoud also hinted at the possibility of Airbus setting up a production unit in the region in the future.
“We talk about markets but fundamentally what is happening now is that the industry is shifting. What was built in Europe is now shifting here and this is something we would like to stress,” he told WAM.
Regional airlines, including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways are among the fastest growing carriers in the world, and have signed large orders with Airbus and Boeing to beef up their fleets.
The share of passenger aircraft in the world operated by the region’s carriers has doubled in the last 10 years, according to Airbus.
The company predicts that new aircraft deliveries to the Middle East will total 2,242 between 2014 and 2033.
According to Boeing, the region’s carriers will require up to 2,610 aircraft by 2033, valued at $550 billion.