ATM mirrors regional airline growth with 32% aviation sector increase

28 Oct 2015


Arabian Travel Market provides marketing platform for new carriers and new routes – aviation sector grows by a third as IATA’s annual Gulf passenger numbers jump 11.7%   


Development in the region’s dynamic aviation sector will once again be a major talking point at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2016, as Gulf airlines look to capitalize on their strategic location, connecting East and West. 

It has been an extremely strong performance over the last 18 months for the region’s aviation sector with Gulf airlines in particular showing the strongest passenger growth in the world according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) statistics, following an 11.7% year-on-year rise in traffic to August 2015, which is now beginning to manifest itself at ATM.

Earlier this year Arabian Travel Market 2015 witnessed robust airline activity, with 27 carriers represented, including regional heavyweights Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, as well as Lufthansa, British Airways and Turkish Airlines. There was also a strong showing from the low cost carriers including flydubai, Air Arabia and Nasair.

“The amount of space that we dedicate to aviation has been steadily rising since 2012, which has grown almost 32% over the past four years to reach well in excess of 2,000 square metres. This figure doesn’t even include what we call ‘stand sharing companies’, where companies choose to participate by sharing stand space, for example, Air Arabia decided to participate at ATM 2015 with the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager of Arabian Travel Market, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, on 25 – 28 April 2016.

Since June 2015 Emirates has announced improved frequencies and also new routes to Boston, Orlando, Chicago, Bali, Mashad (Iran), Bamako (Mali), as well as Panama City, the longest non-stop flight in the world in a westerly direction. Etihad Airways has opened up new routes to Edinburgh and Madrid and next year Qatar Airways will fly to Sydney, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Boston.

“The low cost airlines are not being left behind either, flydubai now operates 110 routes and will carry 8.9 million passengers this year. Air Arabia now connects Casablanca with Montpellier (France) and Naples (Italy) and Marrakesh with Frankfurt. In addition the Sharjah-based carrier is now extending its reach to Urumqi in China,” added Noblet-Segers.

Other regional statistics support the bullish sentiment toward aviation growth forecasts, when demand and wealth dynamics are considered. According to the World Bank, the MENA region population is more than 331 million with an annual growth rate of 1.73% in 2013.

“That’s 5.7 million people per annum, or to put it another way, the equivalent of the population of Riyadh. And with 31% of the MENA population still under 15 years, it will continue to grow and it will continue to travel,” added Noblet-Segers.

In terms of wealth, the per capita income for the UAE according to the World Bank in 2014 was still more than US$44,000, comfortably within the top 10% of richest nations, behind Qatar ($97K) and Kuwait ($49K), but ahead of Bahrain ($25K), Saudi Arabia ($24K) and Oman ($19K).  

Recent YouGov data would also support those figures, which revealed that more than one-third of MENA residents (36%) are planning to increase their leisure travel over the next year, with 15% anticipating a big increase in outbound travel.

The same research also showed a similar trend for business travel with 33% of MENA-based passengers reportedly taking one or more short-haul leisure trips over the previous 12 months, out of which 10% made three or further trips by air.

The ATM 2015 seminars also attracted some of the world’s leading aviation experts and industry leaders, such as John Strickland, Director, JLS Consulting, who was in conversation with Martin Bentrott, Vice President Sales, The Middle East, Russia & Central Asia for Boeing, as well as one-on-one sessions with Tim Clark, President, Emirates and Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive, Qatar Airways.

“More could be done to generate additional air passengers, the open skies issue and GCC-wide visas for example are sure to be hot topics for discussion once again during the ATM 2016 aviation seminars,” added Noblet-Segers.

In terms of infrastructure, the region is building one of the most comprehensive transport infrastructures on earth. Dubai World Central will receive US$ 32 billion in investment and will accommodate 220 million passengers. The new Doha Hamad International Airport in Qatar, can now handle 30 million passengers and Abu Dhabi is anticipating more than 20 million passengers within the next few years.

ATM 2016 will build on the success of this year’s edition with the announcement of an additional hall as Reed Travel Exhibitions looks to add to its record-breaking achievements earlier this year. ATM 2015 witnessed a year-on-year visitor attendance increase of 15% to over 26,000, with exhibiting companies increasing by 5% to 2,873. Business deals worth more than US$2.5 billion were signed over the four days.




About Arabian Travel Market

In its 22nd edition, Arabian Travel Market 2015, boasted more than 2,800 exhibitors and stand-sharers from 86 countries and attracted over 26,000 visitors from around the world.


Arabian Travel Market is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s World Travel Market group of events.


About World Travel Market

World Travel Market is comprised of the leading leisure travel events in the world; WTM London, WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo, WTM Africa in Cape Town and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

New events for 2016 are WTM connect Asia and WTM connect China, which join WTM connect Ski and International Golf Travel Market. These unique one-to-one events are targeted at leisure and niche travel markets, allowing exhibitors to exclusively meet with elite hosted buyers.

The World Travel Market events are attended by the global travel and tourism industry’s senior executives to conduct business deals and discover the latest research, insight and opinion.

In 2014, World Travel Market events facilitated around $7 billion in industry deals from negotiations between the more than 15,000 buyers, 9,500 exhibitors (1,500 main stand holders and 8,000 stand sharers) in attendance of its four events. WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions.

About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading travel and tourism events organiser, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 22 international events in 13 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf and ski travel.

RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.  

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.


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