Despite the global aviation industry’s growing concerns over spiralling fuel costs, the current economic downtown and increased environmental challenges, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, government of Dubai and President and CEO of the Emirates Group, said the Middle East aerospace sector will be resilient to these pressures and will continue to record strong growth.
Speaking at the opening of Aircraft Interiors Middle East 2008 (AIME) held the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre in mid-June, Sheikh Ahmed reiterated how impressive regional aviation growth was driving the international aircraft interiors market, and that Middle Eastern carriers and business jet operators, were leading the way in innovation and demand.
“The global aviation industry is enjoying mixed fortunes at the moment - there is both positive and negative news. But here in Dubai we believe there is the potential for it to be all good news especially for all of those in the aircraft interiors sector – which is entering one of the most exciting stages in its recent development,” said Sheikh Ahmed.
“While we hear of airlines around the world cancelling back routes and postponing orders, in the Gulf we continue to see unrivalled growth. Although some routes may be affected, others are growing at a rapid pace. That is why Emirates Airlines continues to push for the new fleet deliveries we need to sustain our growth - we believe that growth will continue despite the global economic uncertainty.
“And we are not alone. Gulf Air has bought new jets in the past month, in Abu Dhabi, Etihad is driving an ambitious growth strategy, and we’ve recently seen the introduction of several more low cost carriers operating regionally.
“At the same time, as pioneers of Open Skies, we are seeing new trans-Atlantic routes opening up and importantly, more airlines are continuing to come here, with most planning to utilise the new Al Maktoum airport at Dubai World Central Aviation City when it begins operations next year.
“And so, it is fair to say, the aviation industry is booming in the Middle East. Subsequently, it is creating opportunities in the aircraft interiors market for both designers and the people who supply them with materials and equipment,” he added.
“Increasingly, what is happening in the cabin in terms of design and installation is having a huge impact on areas such as weight, connectivity and of course passenger satisfaction. This industry is producing new ideas that save weight, which in turn saves fuel and therefore saves money,” he said.
“The Middle East’s aerospace market - which is predicted to buy and receive an additional 870 aircraft by 2027 - is proving to be an important growth catalyst for the international aircraft interiors market. Regional airlines have, for some time, been recognised as agenda-setters on aviation interior advancements and their specifications are now amongst the most demanding.
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