CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit, Amman 2/3 Mar-2020

Press Release

CAPA - Centre for Aviation (CAPA), the world's most trusted source of market intelligence for the aviation and travel industry, is pleased to announce the return of the CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit, to be held in Amman, Jordan on 2/3-March-2020, on the shores of the Dead Sea.

Winds of change are sweeping through Middle East and African aviation.

The seemingly endless growth of the big three Gulf carriers, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, has changed direction, Saudi Arabia is moving to expand its global role with Saudia and its LCC subsidiary flyadeal, the imminent arrival of long haul narrow body aircraft will again shift the balance, as smaller gateways become available for direct service.

In Africa, South African Airways continues to bump along the bottom, but there are again stirrings of growth and some changes in attitude towards market entry that give modest cause for optimism as the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) takes centre stage.

However, for much of the Middle East, protectionism towards market entry remains the default position, limiting intra-regional service and cooperation.

  • The CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit will be held in Amman, Jordan on 2/3-March-2020, focusing on the commercial and operational issues affecting airlines and airports in Africa and the Middle East.
  • The Middle East and African aviation industry is facing challenges such as competition from local LCCs and aggressive Chinese airlines, fluctuating oil revenues, regional conflict, and overcrowded airspace.
  • Protectionism towards market entry remains a default position in the Middle East, limiting intra-regional service and cooperation.
  • Africa faces protectionist hurdles, high operating costs, poor management practices, and government restrictions on operational freedoms, but there is potential for growth due to increasing demand for air travel.
  • Arab airlines have been able to grow and attract inter-continental traffic through their hubs, but they are facing challenges due to declining global economic growth and regional crises.
  • The CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit aims to challenge leaders in the industry to reflect on the current state of the industry and explore key innovations from outside markets to propel the local industry forward.

For more information about the event and to attend or sponsor, please see the CAPA Middle East and Africa Summit 2020

Hosted in Amman with the support of Airport International Group, the operator of the Amman-Queen Alia International Airport, the 2020 CAPA Summit will again seek to examine the commercial and operational issues affecting airlines and airports in Africa and the Middle East.

With a specific focus on emerging local markets and growth prospects in key international hubs to support traffic growth, this is a must-attend for the region.

Africa and the Middle East aviation: a dynamic and challenging environment

The aviation industry remains in a highly dynamic state in the Middle East and Africa. Like markets around the world, carriers across the region are facing ongoing challenges to their business models. The growing number of ambitious local LCCs and aggressive Chinese airlines entering the market has stimulated the competitive landscape and threatened the positioning of established airlines.

The region's airlines have also had to contend with challenges unique to the Middle East, such as fluctuating oil revenues, regional conflict and overcrowded airspace.

On the regulatory front, despite the highly restrictive nature of much of the aviation regulatory structure, negotiations continue for comprehensive air transport agreements, though some continue to be hampered by protectionist voices.

As a result, some Middle Eastern airlines, such as Royal Jordanian, have concentrated efforts on improving profitability with capacity growth, rather than expansion, putting fleet renewal plans in place and implementing tactics to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

At the same time other Middle Eastern airlines, including Saudia, Qatar Airways and Air Arabia, have been leading the charge in adopting new aircraft technology with the A321LR aircraft, which will allow greater range capability and expansion opportunities in the future.

Africa remains a market of huge potential but with even larger challenges, with protectionist hurdles that limit aviation success. Local airlines are faced with high operating costs due to 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 progress of the industry.

Nevertheless, demand for air travel is growing among the 1.2 billion population of the regions. Accordingly, the number of airport construction projects is growing and there is a level of ambition to build airports that are modern and efficient, and will cater for growth for several decades.  

AACO: Despite continuing growth, regional pressures weigh heavily on Middle East airlines

At AACO's recent AGM, its longstanding Secretary General, Abdul Wahab Teffaha summarised the multiple features facing the industry in the Middle East in the following terms:

"On the Arab level, and despite the crises we have been, and still are,facing in our region, Arab airlines have been able to deal with these crises through their competitiveness, and through expanding their footprint to become major players in global air transport by attracting inter-continental traffic through their hubs, while benefiting from the global economic growth and from balancing capacity with demand.

"As a result, the Arab air transport has been growing well since 2010, with Arab airlines' RPKs increasing between 2010 and 2018 by an annual average of 10.1%.

"During that same period, traffic at Arab airports also increased by an annual average of 6.8%, and AACO members' traffic share of transit passengers from their total passengers also increased from 10.5% in 2010 to 14.3% in 2018.

"Accordingly, Arab airlines are present on the global aviation map through their competitiveness which is fueled by the quality of their product, the modernity of their fleet, the competitiveness of their fares, the continuous development of their airport infrastructure,and, most importantly, by treating their passengers as guests so that we ensure they enjoy their travel experience rather than merely providing them with a safe and standard air transport services.

"However, this is becoming more difficult at the moment with the decline in global economic growth and the crises facing our region. Perhaps one of the indicators of this reality is that Arab airlines recorded a load factor of 74% last year; eight percentage points below the global average, which is highly unusual as the marginal difference between Arab airlines' load factor and the global average hasnot exceeded the five percentage points threshold in the past."

AFRAA: "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others"

In Africa the perennial aviation problem is neighbourly mistrust and protectionism.

As AFRAA's Secretary General, Abdérahmane Berthé, said recently, "The well-known African saying gives us all the opportunity to visualise the Africa we all want in direct relation to the African Union's Agenda 2063 proclamation. In the very near future we will be witnessing the combined positive impact" of movement towards the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

In January 2018, the African Union had launched the SAATM as one of the Union's Agenda 2063 flagship projects. The SAATM is the full implementation of the Yaounde Declaration. African Countries signing the SAATM commit to fully implement that Declaration.

There have been many declarations and other publicly expressed aspirations about the prospects for African aviation growth, but there is more than the usual optimism surrounding this new move under the SAATM.

This is only one of the many issues that will be addressed at high level at the CAPA Amman Summit.

CAPA Chairman Emeritus Peter Harbison said of the Summit:

"Following the success of our 2019 CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit in Dubai, this event has proven to be a vital platform to challenge leaders from across the region to reflect on the current state of the industry. Both regions have achieved significant progress, and by examining key innovations from outside markets during the Summit, we can collectively help to propel the local industry forward."

Airport International Group CEO Kjeld Binger commented:

"Serving as a powerful platform that actively advances the aviation sector, the CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit 2020 is expected to produce positive outcomes and viable solutions that elevate the air travel and tourism experiences. We are eagerly looking forward to hosting the Summit for the first time in Jordan next year, cementing the Kingdom's standing as a prime destination for prominent international industry events, while promoting its vibrant tourism sector, rich culture and warm hospitality."

Airport International Group is a Jordanian consortium of local and international investors with proven experience in airport rehabilitation, enhancement, operation and management.

In 2007, following a transparent and open international tender, the Government of Jordan awarded Airport International Group a 25-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) concession agreement to manage the rehabilitation, expansion and operation of the award-winning Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) - Jordan's prime gateway to the world.

The CAPA Middle East & Africa Aviation Summit will welcome over 200 senior executives to address these issues and shine a spotlight on the unique challenges that affect the region.

Ultra Early Bird delegate rates

Ultra Early Bird delegate rates are now available, but only for a limited time (ending 22-Jan-2020) - book now and save USD500 off the full rate.

Limited complimentary passes are also available for full time direct employees of scheduled airlines and media representatives. Sponsorship and exhibition spaces are also available and are selling quickly.

To register for the Summit or for more information, visit Middle East and Africa Aviation Summmit 2020


CAPA - Centre for Aviation(CAPA), part of Aviation Week Network, is the leading provider of independent aviation market intelligence, analysis and data services covering worldwide developments.

Established in 1990, CAPA offers platforms to help the aviation sector and supplier businesses stay informed, to remain connected to industry leaders and to fuel inspiration to drive change. CAPA's global C-level and corporate travel summits are held in key aviation markets around the world, attracting executive level speakers, attendees and leading stakeholders of the global commercial aviation industry. Understanding aviation markets is our great strength and passion, along with providing CAPA members, clients and partners with an unparalleled level of expertise and insight.

For more information and details on membership and events, please visit centreforaviation.com.

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For media enquiries please contact:

Daniella Baxter
Global Marketing Director
CAPA - Centre for Aviation
P: +61 2 9241 3200

Annaliese Vella
Content Marketing Executive
CAPA - Centre for Aviation
P: +61 2 9241 3200