Emerging markets affect Middle East airlines

The emerging markets of India and China will have a crucial effect on the growth of Middle East airlines, according to the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO).

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By  Barbara Cockburn Published  October 10, 2006

The emerging markets of India and China will have a crucial effect on the growth of Middle East airlines, according to the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO). Speaking at the 4th Annual MENA Air Finance Conference, Abdul Wahab Teffaha, the organisation’s general secretary, said Arab airlines would play an influential role on routes connecting India to the Middle East, Europe and US. “The Indian market is set to open in 2007, bringing more competition and capacity in the industry,” said Teffaha. “The growth will represent an expansion of the Indian middle classes and increasing numbers of travellers in the region. The evidence is ongoing.” China has also emerged as a growing market, according to Teffaha, although aviation companies serving the country may experience some barriers. “It’s not easy to negotiate bilateral agreements in China, which makes it a different story,” he said. “It will be a tough job as far as operations of Arab airlines in China are concerned.” These markets could help the aviation industry sustain its growth in the Middle East, which continues at full pace, despite some knock-backs as a result of the recent Lebanese conflict. “The Middle East is known for its extreme wealth, but also for its conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. We have to move towards liberalisation of air services. This is long overdue,” said Teffaha. “It is very important that Arab countries, and all developing countries, develop open skies and invest in the air transport market.”

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