Middle East airports to handle 1.1 billion passengers by 2040
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Middle East airports to handle 1.1 billion passengers by 2040

Middle East airports to handle 1.1 billion passengers by 2040

Airports in the Middle East will need to invest around $151bn in capacity expansion

Middle East

The Airport Council International, a Montreal-headquartered organisation of airport authorities, forecasts that close to 19.7 billion passengers will travel to airports around the world by 2040.

By that year, the Middle East airports are expected to handle 1.1 billion passengers – more than double the 2019 figure of 405 million passengers.

Airports in the Middle East will therefore need to invest around $151bn in capacity expansion.

Aviation market intelligence source, CAPA – Centre for Aviation, added that are 425 major construction projects at existing airports worldwide, with $450.7bn in total committed expenditure globally.

Its database further indicates that the total number of airport projects and the volume of investments in Middle East are 155 and $209.4bn respectively.

With over 110 airports, the Middle East is already believed to be among the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. Several key airport expansion projects are underway in the region.

In the UAE, work on the Sharjah International Airport’s terminal expansion will begin this year and is expected to be completed by 2026.

The airport handled about 13.1 million passengers in 2022. The expansion will increase the terminal’s capacity to accommodate about 20 to 25 million passengers by 2026.

The $4.36bn Kuwait Airport’s Passenger Terminal 2 expansion will boost the airport’s annual passenger handling capacity to 13 million passengers per year, and that number can increase to up to 50 million passengers in the future.

As the project aims for the status of the world’s first LEED Gold-accredited passenger terminal building, it is expected to be completed by 2025.

In November last year, Doha’s Hamad International airport (HIA) completed the first phase of its airport renovation and expansion project.

The newly renovated airport can now accommodate 58 million passengers annually and features additional lounges, retail and F&B options, as well as a new transfer hall and indoor garden.

The second phase of the airport’s expansion will commence this year and further increase the capacity of the airport to over 70 million passengers. It will involve the construction of two new concourses within the existing terminal.

In Oman’s Musandam Airport is being constructed at a cost of $250m and is expected to be ready by Q4 2026. The work includes the construction of two runways and a passenger terminal with a capacity of 250,000 passengers per year.

In Saudi Arabia, plans have already been unveiled for the new King Salman International Airport in Riyadh which is expected to become one of the world’s largest airports covering an area of approximately 57 sq km, allowing for six parallel runways. The airport aims to accommodate up to 120 million travellers by 2030. That figure is expected to rise to 185 million passengers and a capacity to process 3.5 million tons of cargo by 2050.

In October last year, the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) signed a SAR1bn agreement to appoint Daa International as the operator of the upcoming Red Sea International (RSI) airport in Saudi Arabia.

Powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, the facility is expected to become the region’s first-ever carbon-neutral airport. The Jeddah Airport City at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) could increase passenger capacity to 114 million passengers per year by 2035. The total investment for it is reported to be $4.5bn.

Saudi Arabia also earlier this year launched a new carrier, Riyadh Air, wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund. The airline will operate with Riyadh as its hub and is expected to add $20bn to the country’s non-oil GDP growth, and create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. Riyadh Air will reportedly aim to connect to over 100 destinations globally by 2030.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, recently ordered 39 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, with an option for another 10.

Riyadh Air also reached an agreement with Boeing to purchase 39 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, with an option to purchase another 33 of the same aeroplane.

In total, the two Saudi Arabian carriers therefore announced an intent to purchase up to 121 787 Dreamliners in what Boeing says will be the fifth largest commercial order by value in the manufacturer’s history.

This article originally appeared on Business Traveller Middle East

Read: Riyadh Air starts to build fleet, orders Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners

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