Middle East businesses are reportedly being presented many commercial opportunities due to Haj, as Saudi Arabia invests in new rail lines and airport expansions to meet the rising number of pilgrims (Bloomberg, 17-Nov-2010). Haj has attracted 2.8 million Muslims to Mecca this year and the government stated it plans to develop religious tourism further as part of its strategy to diversify export earnings away from oil. The government has planned a USD5.3 billion rail line linking Mecca and Medina with Jeddah and increasing annual passenger capacity at King Abdulaziz International Airport to 30 million by 2012.
Haj becomes big business for Saudi Arabia
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Middle East Fleet Report:Middle East is high on growth aircraft orders, mostly widebodies
The Middle East region has the highest ratio of in service to on order aircraft (1.0 to 0.94). For every one aircraft in service in Feb-2017 (1459) there is nearly one on order (1368). The Middle East has the fourth largest regional backlog, much lower than the 4600 aircraft on order in Asia Pacific and lower than the 2200 aircraft on order in each of North America and Europe. Unlike North America and Europe, most new aircraft in the Middle East are for growth, not replacement.
Europe summer 2017 airline capacity outlook: fifth successive summer of above trend seat growth
Airline seat growth from Europe in summer 2017 is set to stay at almost 6% for the third successive summer, according to data from OAG. This rate had not previously been reached since 2010, although this will be the fifth straight summer of growth ahead of its 10 year average rate. The summer 2017 season started on 26-Mar-2017 and, although always subject to further change, the data give a fairly clear picture.
Seat capacity on routes from Europe to Africa will grow the fastest, as the region recovers from a terrorism related drop in demand in North Africa. There will also be above trend growth in almost every other region from Europe (including intra Europe). The only exception is Europe-Middle East, where the newly cautious Gulf airlines' growth is slowing this summer.
On the North Atlantic, always important for the profitability of Europe's leading legacy airlines, growth will be faster than its 10 year trend, but it will at least be a little slower than in the past summer. The loss of market share from the immunised North Atlantic JVs to newer and smaller competitors, including LCCs, is set to continue. As ever, the OAG capacity data provide a window into the changing structure of the airline markets from Europe.