A new Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) aviation study predicts that the Persian Gulf region will see 250 million passengers using its airports each year by 2020 and that annual Middle East aircraft movements will reach 2.3 million five years later, when the number of people living within range of a single flight reaches some 7 billion. The study, titled “The World Via Gulf” and published for Dubai’s The Airport Show, scheduled to take place from May 6 to 8 in Dubai, concludes that the region’s aviation industry will create 294,000 jobs over the next two decades.
UAE government-owned carrier Etihad Airways inaugurated its fourth destination in North America on April 1, starting daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. Etihad last opened a new route to North America more than three years ago by starting service to Chicago, adding to its previous launches in New York and Toronto. Emirates, the largest Middle East carrier, started service between Washington Dulles and Dubai last September.
In seeking to consummate its proposed strategic alliance with Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic Airways aims to head off the challenge posed by the formidable pairing of British Airways and American Airlines. So who did Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson recruit to succeed retiring CEO Steve Ridgway? Why, naturally, a senior American Airlines executive in the shape of senior vice president for customers Craig Kreeger, who assumes his new role from February 1.
With Middle Eastern Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines experiencing exponential growth in the Arabian Gulf, there is a growing requirement for qualified pilots. The Gulf Aviation Training Event (GATE) will bring a panel of industry experts together to discuss and debate the pilot shortage in the region.
Airbus is still aiming at a first-half 2014 entry into service for the new A350XWB twin-aisle twinjet, with executive vice president and program head Didier Evrard conceding that the schedule is “tight, but feasible.” In late May, he said the immediate challenge was to complete the first airframe for ground testing and overseeing the supply chain.
Substantial order cancellations struck both Boeing and Airbus during the month of April, leaving the Boeing 787 in negative territory for the year and the A350 backlog significantly dented, according to data released last week by both manufacturers.
Boeing has expanded its supplier base into the Middle East by awarding a 10-year contract to Strata Manufacturing, the Al Ain-based subsidiary of Mubadala Aerospace in the United Arab Emirates. The deal, announced at the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi on April 17, covers empennage ribs for the 777 twinjet and vertical fin ribs for the 787.
Regional airline service has been slow to take root in the Middle East, and especially at the entry-level turboprop end of the market. But now, a start-up operator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is preparing to launch a feeder service to the region’s aspiring hubs in Abu Dhabi and Doha, giving locals the chance to bypass crowded Dubai.
Based in Fujairah, UAE, Eastern Express plans to ferry business passengers into Abu Dhabi and Doha to connect with growing Gulf-based international passenger networks starting during this year’s first quarter.
As part of its planned expansion in Europe, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways intends to increase its ownership stake in Air Berlin to 29 percent, a move that would make it the largest single shareholder in Germany’s second largest airline.
The holiday season seemed to start early last week for Boeing, as it secured no fewer than three major firm orders, including the biggest in its history.