AMMAN- Middle East carriers are marching steadily towards full recovery, with expectations to bounce back to 2019 levels by the year 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Notably, the Revenue Passenger-Kilometres (RPKs) stand at 88% of the 2019 figures, showing significant progress in the sector's rebound, IATA regional Vice President for the Middle East, Kamil Al-Awadhi, said at IATA’s annual meeting.
Despite the global turbulence in air travel due to the pandemic, recovery remains on track. Industry-wide RPKs are currently within 10% of 2019 levels, marking a significant comeback, he said.
He has projected a promising forecast for the Middle East aviation industry.
He indicated that air passenger numbers in the region are expected to double by 2040, reaching an impressive 550 million.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) carriers will be at the forefront of this growth. These carriers, particularly those based in energy-rich GCC countries, are progressively turning their focus towards sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in a bid to align with global environmental concerns. However, Al-Awadhi admitted that the current SAF supply in the market falls short of meeting the growing needs of airlines.
"Airlines cannot do much about it; they don’t produce SAF," Al-Awadhi noted. Nevertheless, oil-producing countries are making considerable strides in investing in SAF, paving the way for a more sustainable future for aviation.
The Middle East area, in particular, is witnessing a surge in SAF investments, signifying a positive shift towards environmental sustainability in the region's aviation sector. This sustainable outlook, coupled with the recovery trend, underscores a promising future for Middle East carriers in the post-pandemic world.
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