IATA: Middle Eastern Carriers On Track to “Normality”

Photo: Solar Impulse Foundation

LONDON – The IATA Director General Willie Walsh said that airlines in the Middle East are “on a path towards normality”, as the region continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airlines across the Middle East have recorded a cumulative loss of $6.8bn for this year, with it expected to drop to $4.6bn next year.

As Walsh explains, there are a lot of positive numbers currently in the Middle East:

“The region’s carriers, specifically Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways, played a critical role in this mammoth task by keeping flying throughout the crisis. Next year, we expect domestic markets to be nearly where they were in 2019. But international travel will lag at just 44%.”

“We are moving in the right direction, if not as fast as we would like to go. The task ahead is formidable. But the overall mood in the industry is one of cautious optimism. And the re-opening of the US market to 33 countries — primarily European — gives the recovery important momentum,”

The cargo side of things in the Middle East is already operating at nine percent above pre-crisis levels, which isn’t surprising given the significant demand for goods during the pandemic.

As a whole, on the connectivity front, the region has done well in reconnecting all of the GCC together in recent months.

Caps on movements have been lifted and the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia have re-instated over 70% of their pre-pandemic networks, offering a significant glimmer of hope as we approach the Winter season.

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