The restoration of ties between Qatar and neighbouring Gulf countries will help the aviation industry recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Airports Council International (ACI) said on Thursday.
paving the way for the reopening of airspace and re-establishment of trade and travel links among the GCC states.
“The border reopening, initially with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will re-establish vital and much-needed connectivity within the Middle East and help the restart and recovery of the aviation sector post-pandemic,” the group, which represents airports worldwide, said.
The latest ACI World Air Traffic Forecasts (WATF) estimated that total passenger volume in the Middle East region will grow almost threefold to 1.2 billion by 2040, from 405 million passengers in 2019.
“The Middle East has suffered tremendously in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, reporting a loss both in terms of passenger traffic and revenues above 70 percent compared to the pre-COVID estimates,” noted Stefano Baronci, ACI Asia-Pacific director general.
“Restoring regional airspace and airport connectivity is an important step in the recovery of the airport sector and aviation as a whole. It will also support the growth trajectory of the Middle East for the future on a global level,” he added.
Writing by Cleofe Maceda
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