Middle East aviation set for strong growth, summer bookings up 43%, says IATA


According to IATA, advanced bookings between May and September saw a substantial 43% increase.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air travellers in the Middle East are confident of smooth airport experiences during this peak summer travel holiday season, with advanced bookings between May and September recording a substantial 43% increase. 

Renewed confidence

The figures align with the global first-quarter 2023 forward bookings data for the period between May and September, which currently stands at 35% higher than 2022 levels.

The survey, which included 4,700 participants from 11 countries, indicated that 79% of travellers surveyed have plans to embark on a trip between June and August 2023.

Meanwhile, 85% of the respondents stated that they are not surprised by potential disruptions during the peak travel season, and 80% expected a smooth travel experience, particularly with the post-pandemic issues being effectively resolved.

Robust growth

According to forward bookings data, the Asia Pacific region is expected to witness the highest growth at a 134.7% increase, followed by the Middle East with a 42.9% increase, Europe with a 39.9% increase, Africa with a 36.4% increase, Latin America with a 21.4% increase, and lastly, North America with a 14.1% increase.

“Expectations are high for this year’s peak Northern summer travel season— For many, this will be their first post-pandemic travel experience,” IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety, and Security, Nick Careen said, noting that while some disruptions can be expected, there is a clear expectation that the ramping-up issues faced at some key hub airports in 2022 will have been resolved.

Careen further highlighted that airlines are meticulously planning their schedules based on the capacity declared by airports, border control, ground handlers, and air navigation service providers, to cater to the strong demand, stressing that collaboration, adequate staffing, and accurate information sharing are vital to minimise operational disruptions and their impact on passengers.

IATA emphasised the importance of ensuring that the declared and scheduled capacities are available. “A lot of work has gone into preparing for the peak Northern summer travel season. Success rests on readiness across all players in the supply chain,” Careen stated, adding that “if each player delivers on what has been declared, there should be no last-minute requirements to reduce the scale of the schedules that travellers have booked on.”