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'Qatar's share in GCC aviation to grow by 17% by 2023'.

AILYN AGONIA DOHA QATAR'S market share in the GCC aviation industry is expected to grow by 17 percent whereas the latter's share in the global aviation market is likely to increase by five percent by 2023, says the latest report of aviation intelligence firm, OAG.

The report, which was presented at the conclusion of the Qatar Transport 2013 at the Renaissance Doha City Center Hotel on Wednesday, shows that in terms of scheduled seat capacity, Doha's annual growth rate is 15 percent compared to the 9 percent of the GCC market and 3 percent of the world market.

"The region's big carriers account for more than 50 percent of the aviation capacity in the region. At the micro-level, Doha's market accounted for 6.5 percent of the GCC capacity in 2003 and about 11 percent in 2013. By 2023, Doha's market will move up further to over 17 percent. There is a huge expansion within the Doha market itself," said Rob Shaw, Director of Analytical Studies at OAG.

Shaw said that the driving force behind the growth trend of the Doha market is the aggressive growth plans of its national flag carrier Qatar Airways, which continues its expansion of routes, especially, outside the GCC, even at a time when major airport hubs are downscaling number of destinations due to a downturn in the industry.

According to the expert, Qatar's continuous expansion of its networks drive more people into the region and is expected to pick up as massive developments and improvements take place in the country including the opening of the New Doha International Airport, (NDIA) which is projected to handle a capacity of 28 million passengers a year for its Phase 1 and up to 50 million passengers annually when the facility is fully operational.

Acquisition of aircrafts by major aviation players in the region also accounts for the growth of the industry across the GCC market. According to the OAG report, about 454 aircrafts are on order between Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad, which are expected to be delivered over the next 10 years.

The report also forecasts remarkable growth of low cost carriers (LCC) in future. "LCC market in the Middle East is relatively young if you compare it to the likes of Europe and the US.

"However, we expect to see growth in LCC market across the GCC and in Doha due to the infrastructural development taking place within the region, which includes Doha's new airport", said Shaw.

He added, "The growth of LCC is going to continue across the region with the expansion of existing LCCs such as Air Arabia and Fly Dubai and launching of new ones over the next five to 10 years. Qatar may also have a low cast carrier in the next five to 10 years to compete with other regional airlines." According to Shaw, Qatar will face tough regional competition as Dubai World Central is projected to attract 160 million passengers upon completion in 2020's and Abu Dhabi's Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC), slated to open in 2017, will have a capacity of 27 to 40 million passengers.

"Besides, the $400 million investment to Riyadh Airport to be completed within 18 months and the 150 million passenger capacity airport of Istanbul (Istanbul Yeni Havalimani), which is aggressively capitalising on important Middle East markets like Doha and Dubai, will also compete with Qatar", he added further.

Shaw also pointed out that the likelihood of GCC moving towards open skies or the liberalisation of the rules and regulations of international aviation industry will provide a significant boost to the market.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:May 30, 2013
Words:611
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