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Aviation news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Riyadh Air Comac C919

Riyadh Air not buying from China’s Comac ‘for now’

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new national carrier, will not consider China’s Comac for its narrowbody order to be announced later this year. However, the airline said it saw a future in Saudi Arabia for Comac, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, as the Chinese alternative to Boeing and Airbus.  “The narrowbody order is in its […]

Organisations have protested US investment bank BlackRock’s participation in the bid to buy a stake in Malaysia Airports Holdings

Malaysian airport deal faces Gaza war backlash

Plans by a consortium, including the UAE’s largest sovereign wealth fund, to buy a stake in Malaysian airports have been hit by protests against the deal from local business organisations in the Asian country. As many as 22 organisations have called upon the Malaysian government to block US investment bank BlackRock’s participation in the bid […]

Saudi Comac Dongfeng He Bandar al-Khorayef

Chinese planemaker banned by US woos Saudi airlines

The boss of a leading Chinese planemaker arrived in Saudi Arabia this week to pitch his aircraft just as the United States said it was close to finalising a defence agreement with Riyadh that is meant to limit its trade links with China.  Dongfeng He, chairman of Comac, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, wants […]

Passengers at Muscat International Airport. Oman plans for it to be joined by six more locations

Oman plans six new airports in tourism push

The majority of Oman’s six new airports are expected to be operational by 2028 and 2029, as part of the government’s initiative to promote tourism, a senior government official has said. Work is under way on designing the new projects, which will increase the number of airports to 13, Naif Al Abri, chairman of the Civil […]

Turkish Airlines flew 18.5 million passengers from January to March 2024, up 8.4 percent annually

Turkish Airlines revenue rises 10% to nearly $5bn

Revenue at Turkey’s national carrier Turkish Airlines rose 10 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2024 to $4.8 billion, driven by growing passenger numbers. Turkish Airlines flew 18.5 million passengers from January to March, up 8.4 percent annually, it said in its latest investor presentation. Passenger revenue climbed 5 percent year on year […]

GACA president Abdulaziz Al-Duailej said licences would be announced soon for more low-cost flights from regional Saudi airports

More low-cost airline routes planned for Saudi Arabia

Plans to privatise domestic airports have been announced by Saudi Arabia as part of an aviation expansion strategy, which includes imminent licences for more low-cost airline routes, the kingdom’s civil aviation authority said this week.  The General Authority of Civil Aviation has signed an agreement with a consortium led by the Turkish airport operator TAV […]

Dubai's total passenger traffic for Q1 2024 reached 23,052,060, an annual rise of 8.4 percent

Passenger traffic at UAE airports increases 15%

Passenger traffic at UAE airports rose 15 percent year on year to 36.5 million in the first three months of 2024, according to data released by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)  Arrivals reached 10.7 million, while departures stood at 10.9 million. The number of transit passengers was 14.9 million, the state-run Wam news agency […]

A jet on the assembly line at the Airbus factory in Blagnac, France. Saudia says it is updating the interiors of its current fleet

Saudia announces ‘largest deal in Saudi aviation history’

Saudia, one of Saudi Arabia’s national carriers, has ordered 105 aircraft from Airbus, with the first batch due for delivery in early 2026. Saudia director general Ibrahim Al-Omar told an aviation industry forum in Riyadh that it is “the largest deal in Saudi aviation history”. A similarly large order has been made by new carrier […]

Emirates Nigeria

Emirates to resume Nigeria service from October

Emirates will restart services to Nigeria from October 1, after suspending flights on the route for almost two years. The Dubai airline will operate a daily service to  Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.  “We are excited to resume our services to Nigeria,” said Adnan Kazim, deputy president and chief commercial officer, Emirates.  “We thank the Nigerian government for their partnership and support in re-establishing this […]

King Abdulaziz International Airport: the number of international flights increased but there were less than 27.4 million international visitors to the kingdom last year

Passenger numbers rise 26% in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia said this week that its total number of air passengers rose 26 percent to 112 million in 2023. This includes a 46 percent rise in the total number of international travellers to 61 million.  The number means the kingdom’s airports are approaching full capacity, which is 116 million passengers a year, including 45 […]

Airport, Adult, Female The Middle East served 422 million air passengers in 2023 and is expected to serve 466 million in 2024

Airport chiefs size up ways to meet GCC airspace demand

The annual number of air travellers to and from the Middle East is projected to pass the half-billion mark next year, meaning aviation authorities need to both expand and streamline use of available airspace, senior GCC airport chiefs have told AGBI. Oman is in talks with a neighbouring Gulf state to unlock a new air […]

Qatar Airways said it was not able to meet high post-Covid demand due to shortage of new aircraft

Qatar Airways urges Boeing and Airbus to address delays

The head of state-run Qatar Airways has urged Airbus and Boeing to address supply chain issues to prevent airlines from “bleeding”. “I know they are under so much pressure when it comes to the supply chain market,” Reuters reported, quoting Badr Mohammed Al Meer speech at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha. Airbus and Boeing need to […]

A cargo plane lands at a Malaysian airport. MAHB’s airport network serves some of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets

UAE wealth fund in $4bn bid to privatise Malaysian airport

A consortium that includes the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has announced a voluntary offer to acquire all the shares in Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) for nearly $4 billion. The other consortium partners are Malaysian government-backed Khazanah Nasional and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and New York-headquartered Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). Upon completion of the offer, Khazanah ownership stake in MAHB […]

RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo said in Doha: 'Addis is already a huge hub but Kigali will be an alternative regional hub, especially given the geographical position of Rwanda'

Qatar and Rwanda to open airport in ‘heart of Africa’ by 2028

Qatar Airways and RwandAir will open a major international airport in Rwanda’s capital Kigali by 2028, the airlines said this week. The Qatari flag carrier has also announced plans to take a stake in a southern African airline to cement its expansion plans on the continent.  RwandAir and Qatar Airways, which have a code-sharing agreement, […]

Dnata staff load cargo into a plane at Cointrin Airport in Geneva. The company's expansion into Rome will need a €20 million investment

Dnata CEO confident of victory in Rome airport case

The group CEO of Dnata, the Dubai-based global air and travel services provider, is “very confident” the company will soon begin operations in Rome. “We’re certainly planning to be operating this year,” Steve Allen told AGBI at a media event on Tuesday, referring to an appeal ruling on the decision to award ground-handling contracts due […]

Air Arabia profit falls 22% amid fuel and currency woes

UAE carrier Air Arabia reported a 22 percent decline in net profit for the first quarter of 2024 compared with the previous year. It cited challenges such as fuel price fluctuations, currency volatility and a shift in seasonality as a result of Ramadan. The low-cost carrier reported earnings of AED266 million ($71 million) for the first three months of […]

Emirates chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum said he was 'confident in our resilience and ability to respond quickly' to challenges such as the recent flooding in Dubai

Dubai to receive $1bn dividend after record Emirates profits

Emirates Group will pay more than $1 billion in dividends to its owner, the Investment Corporation of Dubai sovereign wealth fund, after it announced record profits of just over $5 billion for the year. The holding group includes Dubai-based flag carrier Emirates and aircraft and airport services company Dnata. It repaid $596 million from the […]

Hajj pilgrims arrive at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah

Saudia allocates 1.2m seats for Hajj pilgrims  

Saudia, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, has allocated more than 1.2 million seats for the 2024 Hajj Season across its fleet of over 150 aircraft. The operational period for the carrier during this year’s Hajj will span 74 days, starting from May 9, encompassing both inbound and outbound stages. Saudia Group, one of […]

Total revenue at Etihad increased 21 percent year on year to nearly AED6 billion

Etihad Q1 profit jumps nine-fold on 41% traffic growth

Etihad Airways’ net profit surged 792 percent to AED526 million ($143 million) in the first quarter, from AED59 million a year ago, amid strong growth in passenger revenue and reduced net finance costs. Total revenue at the UAE flag carrier increased 21 percent year on year to nearly AED6 billion, driven by increased network capacity and passenger numbers. […]

Family boards an aeroplane. There are 213 airlines operating in the Middle East, says the OAG report

Qatar dazzles as Middle East aviation picks up pace

The Middle East’s aviation sector is growing at twice the global rate and is expected to offer 257 million passenger seats this year, according to a new report. Not so long ago major airlines viewed the Middle East as a place to get cheap fuel on their way from Europe to South East Asia. Now […]