Lessons to be shared and learnt – developing a new sustainable template for air travel across the Middle East and Africa

Despite the near-medieval nature of aviation’s regulatory structure, it is only relatively rarely that politics intervenes to disrupt airline connections. Perhaps it is the socio-humanitarian nature of the industry’s role that often places mere political differences in the shade.

Nowhere has politics made such inroads into efficient air service operations as in the Middle East. Seat growth in the region slowed in 2018 – the big three Gulf hub carriers grew capacity by only 2% and may feel increased competitive pressure from Turkish Airlines after its moves into its new home.

It is also evident in Africa which remains a market of huge potential but even larger challenges. The outlook for 2019 is mostly more of the same, but with some glimmers of hope. New start-ups and most existing airlines will struggle to overcome the obstacles that have repeatedly prevented most African airlines from succeeding. Foreign airlines dominate the African market and have a huge competitive advantage.

The two regions will be among the discussion topics at the forthcoming Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit 2019, CAPA – Centre for Aviation will explore these subjects and look if any lessons can be learnt and shared between the two markets at very different stages of development.

As the foremost authority on aviation in the world, CAPA – Centre for Aviation’s events provide cutting edge knowledge about strategic market trends and dynamics to help attendees make informed decisions, delivering the information and connections needed to inspire and improve business. The CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit will take place in Dubai between 29-30 April 2019.

The summit will examine key commercial and operational issues affecting airlines and airports in the Middle East and Africa, focusing on both domestic issues and growth prospects in key international markets. CAPA will challenge leaders of the Middle East and African aviation industry to reflect on what is needed to drive the industry forward, using examples of innovation in outside markets as a benchmark to follow.

Like their peers elsewhere, carriers in the Middle East face ongoing challenges to their business models. Competition from ambitious new entrants such as the Chinese carriers are threatening the big three Gulf carriers’ position as the chief global superconnectors, who are themselves slowing down as they recalibrate their market positioning.

The region’s airlines also have to contend with challenges unique to the Middle East, such as fluctuating oil revenues, regional conflict and overcrowded airspace. On the regulatory front, ongoing negotiations for comprehensive air transport agreements between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council nations are being hampered by protectionist voices.

Similarly, Africa faces its own protectionist hurdles. Impotent government transport strategies and an unwavering commitment to propping up failing carriers continues to limit the region’s aviation success. Local airlines are faced with high operating costs arising from government imposed taxes on aviation fuel and monopoly airport fees, while poor management practices and government restrictions on operational freedoms have severely impaired the natural progression of the industry.

While the Jan-2018 launch of the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) represents progress, perhaps the greatest optimism attaches to some very persistent attempts to expand LCC operations in the region.

The CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit seeks to tap into the dynamic changes taking place in the airline industry in this part of the world and address the issues in creative and authoritative ways.

This event, hosted at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre (DICEC), previously known as the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), is a forum for debate and discussion of this strategic issue within the aviation industry and it is attracting delegate interest from across the globe. It is a must attend for those seeking to do business in the Middle East & Africa, where they can gain first-hand inspiration from airlines, LCCs, airports, travel technology providers, OEMs and financiers.

FIND OUT MORE… visit the CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit homepage to find out more about this not-to-be-missed opportunity to discuss relevant issues impacting the aviation sector and learn meaningful insights from your industry peers.