Tony Tyler, chief executive officer and director general of IATA (International Air Transport Association), told reporters on Tuesday that airlines globally are estimated to make $4.1 billion (Dh15.06 billion) profit this year, with the Middle Eastern airlines contributing $700,000 million of that total.
While this is a decline from the $1 billion profit that Middle Eastern airlines made last year, Tyler said that the growth in the region has been striking.
“From the beginning of the year to August, international passenger growth has been 16.9 per cent compared to the global growth of 6.6 per cent. In cargo, the difference is even more striking, with 14.1 per cent growth compared to a global decline of -2.6 per cent,” he said during a press conference at the 2nd IATA World Passenger Symposium.
In 2013, the airline industry’s global profits are expected to climb to $7.5 billion and for the Middle East airlines to hit the $1 billion profit mark again, he added.
Tyler said that the recent strategic alliances and partnerships between carriers make sense because of the growth and capacity this region offers. There have been a series of codeshares and alliances this year as carriers work to expand their networks. Qatar Airways had announced that it would join the Oneworld global marketing alliance earlier this month. Etihad has also signed a codeshare agreement with Air France-KLM, the first phase of a larger strategic partnership which starts on October 28.
The ongoing wave of aviation investment in this part of the world is in infrastructure and fleet, Tyler said. “The investment in the Middle East has been more than $200 billion in more than 1,000 aircrafts since 2005. The forecast is that they’re going to spend another $200 billion over the next 10 years,” he said, adding that $100 billion has been spent on airport projects in the region.
He added that while there may be a slowdown in orders, he doesn’t expect any cancellation of aircraft orders.