This year’s Arabian Travel Market witnessed over 40 airlines and 300 delegates attend the inaugural CONNECT Middle East, India and Africa exhibition. The two-day meet, co-located with Arabian Travel Market 2019, united airline and airport executives with manufacturers and suppliers, and provided a global forum for business and networking opportunities. Alongside the conference programme, delegates had the opportunity to book one-to-one appointments in airline and airport meeting lounges and enjoy evening networking events.
Karin Butot, CEO, The Airport Agency, said, “CONNECT is a new addition to the route development calendar and co-located with ATM is a natural choice given the unprecedented growth in aviation across the region. We look forward to welcoming delegates to what promises to be a series of lively debates and discussions.” The Middle East’s airline seat count has doubled in the last 10 years, and last year saw 264.31 million scheduled departing seats, according to anna.aero data. Growth has been fuelled by the major expansion of scheduled carriers and more recently, low-cost airlines, which now accounts for 16 per cent of all departing seats. Dubai International Airport, the world’s largest airport for international passenger numbers, recording 89.1 million passengers last year, accounted for 22 per cent of all departing seats in the Middle East.
Nick Pilbeam, Divisional Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said, “Two-thirds of the world’s population are within an eight-hour flight of the GCC and the region’s airlines are continuously adding new routes, to connect to fresh destinations.” Kicking off the two-day event was a training workshop entitled ‘The Simpson Paradox in Donut Crunching’ – showing how best to achieve better data accuracy when estimating a route’s potential.
John Strickland, Director, JLS Consulting, gave a keynote presentation on ‘The State of the Airline Industry’ followed by a briefing from Airbus which provided updates on product lines, infrastructure regulation, airline technologies and airport capacity challenges.