Investors are keen to capitalise on the increasing opportunities in the aviation sector globally, according to industry experts.
“Over the past decade, as the global economy has improved, airlines have grown in profitability, matured in terms of employing better capacity management and cost controls, and have benefitted from the explosion in demand for passenger air travel,” according to Aviation Industry Report released by KPMG.
Talking about the investment environment prevailing in the UAE, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of General Authority of Civil Aviation (GCAA), said, “Being one of the biggest aviation industries in the world, UAE is open to attract investments from outside the country to our aviation sector, and we welcome any investor to establish their business in our national carriers and airports. A lot of investors have now started their business with the UAE’s aviation sector, which is worth over $I trillion.”
Al Suwaidi added, “Our airports and free zones have less restrictions on foreign capital and we welcome any foreign investor to start their company to contribute in the advancement of our sector.”
In an exclusive interview with Strategic Infinity, Tahnoon Saif, Vice-President of Aviation at Dubai South, said, “We created a platform at Dubai South platform exclusively for aerospace and maintenance activities. We are meeting our clients regularly with the support of GCAA, and our business is growing at Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub. We are optimistic about growing our business further by 2020.”
Talking to Strategic Infinity, Aidan Cronin, Ambassador of Ireland, highlighted another growing sector within the aviation industry on the margin of the networking event of Global Investment in Aviation Summit (GIAS). He said: “Aviation industry is a major sector for Ireland, and have around 250 companies in Ireland working particularly in leasing side, a growth industry with a turnover of Euro 4billion last year. We look forward to attending Global Investment in Aviation Summit (GIAS) next January to understand the business prospects in the sector.”
Further boosting the confidence of the investors, KPMG, in their report has cited that more than $100 billion worth of projects are planned and/or under construction
spanning the Gulf and beyond.
“[Despite] a number of clouds on the horizon… Emirates and other carriers in the region still enjoy a great geographic advantage in terms of access to key growth markets with state-of-the-art fleets and hub capacity,” said international aviation expert and industry consultant John Strickland.
The long list of regional projects includes Bahrain International Airport’s US$1 billion expansion programme; a multibillion-dollar new terminal and additional runway at Kuwait International; the tri-phased redevelopment of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and, closer to home, expansion projects at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi airports.
As for the emerging trends in the sector, experts have identified the following four key growth areas.
· European aviation has outstripped growth predictions this year, and this trend appears likely to continue
· Asian countries look set to see the most rapid growth rates in 2019. China, Pakistan and the ASEAN nations, in particular, appear poised to make great strides over the coming year
· The air freight industry is likely to see a boost due to the increasing popularity of next or same-day delivery among online shoppers
· With Emirates and American Airlines among the latest to introduce ‘premium economy’ options, this model is set to experience a boom (at the expense of traditional ‘business class’ capacity).