The total value of 152 active aviation-related projects in the Middle East reached $57.7 billion (Dh211.8 billion) at the end of April 2017, according to data issued on Sunday by BNC Network, a research provider.
In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Saudi Arabia accounted for the largest share of project value (at 46 per cent of the GCC’s total), followed by the UAE (26 per cent), and Kuwait (12 per cent).
The Gulf region’s aviation projects also accounted for 72 per cent of the total estimated value for all aviation projects in the Middle East and North Africa.
BNC Network pointed, however, in its report that more than 31 per cent (or a combined value of around $11.5 billion) of the aviation projects in the Middle East and North Africa are on hold.
Avin Gidwani, chief executive officer of BNC Network, said a strong aviation infrastructure will be a key driver of development across the region, with the sector expected to see further growth in the next years.
“Continuous economic growth in Arab countries and empowerment of the region’s population will encourage more people to travel across the region and out of the region for business and leisure, pushing the demand for additional airport capacity — both passenger terminal and aircraft take-off and landing facilities,” he said in a statement.
Gidwani added that he expected such an increase in demand to drive governments of Middle Eastern countries to boost their investments in aviation infrastructure in the coming years.
In April 2017, three airport projects in Saudi Arabia were awarded for construction, namely the redevelopment of Hail Airport (for $380 million), Qassim International Airport (for $372 million), and Taif International Airport (for $350 million).
Among the mega airport projects in the region, BNC Network said is Al Maktoum International, with a development value of over $8 billion, followed by Abu Dhabi International Airports expansion, which is valued at Dh25 billion.
Dubai International Airport, the Middle East’s largest aviation hub, is also undergoing a Dh28 billion expansion plan, and this is expected to accelerate the pace of construction activities at Al Maktoum International.