GCC invests $313 billion into airport development

High growth and passenger demand from six regional carriers driving spending on airport infrastructure, IATA report says

The UAE is spending more than $23 billion on developing its airport infrastructure, leading the way for the GCC.


The Gulf countries are investing more than $313 billion into airport development to help manage a surge in passenger traffic, which is being driven by six of the region’s major airlines, a report by the International Air Transport Association has said.

The UAE is leading this investment drive, with more than $23 billion spent on developing its airport infrastructure, including $15.79 billion in Dubai alone.

Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, flyDubai and Air Arabia are the airlines that are driving passenger traffic demand growth, thus prompting governments to invest heavily in airport infrastructures, a report by Gulf News said.

Middle Eastern airline profits are expected to rise by more than half this year to $1.4 billion as they extend their routes around the globe, said a recent report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Airlines in the Middle East are expected to exceed the previous profit estimate of $1.1 billion, increasing more than 55 per cent on the $900 million made last year, according to IATA.

“The region’s carriers rank third in terms of operating profitability with an earnings before interest and taxes margin of 3.4 per cent, after Asia Pacific [5.3 per cent] and North America [4.1 per cent],” said the Association’s report.

Dubai is investing more than $15.79 billion in two airports, after having spent more than $5.4 billion in Dubai International over the last 15 years. Of this, its fourth-phase expansion of Dubai International is costing the government $7.6 billion that will include a fourth concourse and associated infrastructure and $8.1 billion at the Dubai World Central in Jebel Ali.

Abu Dhabi is investing $6.8 billion in the redevelopment of Abu Dhabi International Airport which is ongoing. Last year, it has awarded a $3.26 billion contract to Arabtec-led consortium to develop the Midfield Terminal Complex.

In the UAE, both Sharjah International Airport and Al Ain International Airport has undergone significant expansion to accommodate more passengers.

Qatar is investing $11.1 billion in developing its new hub airport – the first phase is being opened while work on a second phase would start.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in expanding a number of its airports.

Other big airport developments in the region include King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) Development Phase 1 in Jeddah with an investment equivalent to $1.5 billion; expansion of Muscat International Airport estimated at $1.2 billion; approximately $2.1 billion in Kuwait International Airport; and $335 million in Bahrain airport.

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