Mideast airports expand as traffic surges

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By Shehab Al Makahleh, Staff Reporter  www.gulfnews.com

Abu Dhabi: Governments in the Middle East are expected to spend nearly Dh331 billion in aviation infrastructure development, including Dh86 billion in the GCC states, in the next few decades.

    *  Image Credit: Gulf News archive     * An Emirates plane taking off. Dubai is investing more than Dh28.4 billion to implement the fourth phase of Dubai Airport’s expansion and increase the its capacity to more than 90 million passengers annually.
* Image Credit: Gulf News archive * An Emirates plane taking off. Dubai is investing more than Dh28.4 billion to implement the fourth phase of Dubai Airport’s expansion and increase the its capacity to more than 90 million passengers annually.

An additional Dh106 billion in various segments of this sector is under consideration, industry experts in Middle East said.

On the regional front, Saudi Arabia intends to invest approximately Dh27 billion in its new airport project. In Oman, the Muscat and Salalah airports are being developed at a cost of Dh1.2 billion to handle 48 million and 10 million passengers annually.

Facing an increase in cargo and passenger traffic, Kuwait is investing Dh172 million in its airport expansion programme, and Qatar is aiming to boost to its aviation infrastructure at a cost of Dh4 billion.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Rihan, executive director of industry affairs and training at the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) told Gulf News, “The cost of airport developments in the Arab world amounted to $60 billion (Dh220.35 billion) in infrastructure and improvement in capacities. The UAE spent $21 billion for airport development.”

Rihan was speaking after a gathering hosted by the London-based Global Transport Forum. He warned that there was no match between the pace of growth of passenger traffic and the expansion of airports in the Arab world. More info