Few places have seen more growth in the airline industry than the Middle East. Carriers that barely registered on the radar three decades ago have grown into powerful global players.
That picture won’t change much in the near future. A new 20-year sales forecast for the Middle East from Boeing estimates that local carriers will need 3,180 new planes valued at $730 billion during the period. Boeing says that fleet expansion will fuel some 70 percent of the growth.
Airports like those in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have blossomed into large global hubs connecting the East and the West, and the future order book will reflect this fact. Boeing estimates growth here will be driven equally by long-haul and short-haul planes. That’s a big difference for the rest of the world, where long-haul planes will account for less than a quarter of total future orders.
This is good news for engine makers like GE Aviation. GE is now developing the world’s largest and most efficient jet engine, the GE9X, for Boeing’s next-generation 777X planes. The company also makes the GEnx engine for Boeing 787, the Dreamliner.
Three of the region’s major carriers – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airway brought their newest long-haul planes to the Dubai Airshow. Take a look.