Ali highlights growth prospects for regional low-cost carriers
The aviation market in Middle East is poised for significant, sustained growth, said the chief executive officer of Air Arabia, the first and largest low-cost carrier in the MENA region.
Recently speaking at the fourth annual India and Middle East Low-Cost Carrier Symposium in Mumbai, India, Adel Ali pointed to the projected increase in the Middle East’s share of global tourism to 4.4 per cent by 2020, and said that the Middle East will lead world passenger traffic growth, with current travel demand up 18 per cent.
The Air Arabia CEO and board member said: “With three major emerging markets – including China, India and the CIS countries – located right in our backyard, the Middle East is perfectly placed to meet the needs of travelers across this wider region. Each of these areas is currently experiencing sustained increases in passenger traffic, and the Middle East can become the hub for this vast swath of the globe.”
He said the sector’s expansion is also being driven by deregulation, liberal-isation, economic diversification and sustained growth, and by the region’s demographics, including the very large expatriate populations in the Gulf states.
Pointing to the outlook for the low-cost carrier (LCC) segment in particular, Ali said: “While demand is increasing across the sector, the outlook for LCCs is especially bright. Consider that, in North America, LCCs market penetration rate account for roughly 25 per cent of market share; here in the Middle East, LCCs make up just 0.1 per cent of the market. Air Arabia has been able to successfully introduce the LCC model to the region and customise it to meet the needs of travellers here. As a result, regional perceptions of LCCs are changing fast.”
Considering the region’s geographic advantage, the strength of the region’s economies and the demographic trends, he said it was clear the LCC segment here is poised for takeoff. “By meeting the unique needs of customers in the region, Middle East-based low-cost carries can make a huge contribution to both the travel industry and the growth of the region as a whole.”