MIDDLE EAST AIR TRAVEL LEADS GLOBAL GROWTH, INCREASING 12% YEAR-ON-YEAR – IATA REPORT
ITCA Abu Dhabi returns to UAE capital alongside SIAL Middle East as regional aviation sector soars to new heights
Abu Dhabi, UAE, 10 November 2013: The Middle East aviation sector is leading a global revival of air travel growth, recording a year-on-year double digit increase of international passengers, according to the latest report released by the International Air Transport Association.
The Air Passenger Market Analysis report, issued in August 2013, said that Middle East carriers continue to experience the strongest rates of international passenger growth, with year-to-date Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) growing by 12.2% from August 2012 to August 2013.
In comparison to a global average RPK increase of 5.5% year-on-year, the strong growth trend is likely to continue, with European airline manufacturer Airbus predicting that Middle East airlines will buy 1,000 of its aircraft, worth US$124 billion, over the next ten years.
The positive outlook for the Middle East aviation sector will come as good news to more than 80 travel catering service providers from 18 countries at the International Travel Catering Association (ITCA) Abu Dhabi event this month, taking place from 24-26 November at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Much of the growth of air travel from the region is driven by tourism along with a large expatriate population, in particular in the GCC, where nearly 50 million expatriate residents travel home or to other global destinations on their annual vacations.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the Middle East generated US$78.1 billion in visitor exports in 2012, while this year the region is expected to have attracted 57 million international tourist arrivals.
Co-located with SIAL Middle East – the region’s fastest growing professional food business platform – under the strategic partnership of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), and supported by Etihad Airways as the main event sponsor, ITCA Abu Dhabi will spotlight some of the most innovative in-flight services and solutions available on the market today.
Now in its second year in the UAE capital, the three-day ITCA event will attract more than 2,000 specialist buyers from 33 airlines across the Middle East region.
Stephen White, President of the International Travel Catering Association, said: “The Middle East is leading global growth in long-haul airline seats, and with passenger expectations pushing the standards of travel catering to new heights, the need for airlines to offer unrivalled in-flight service is greater than ever before.
“We are delighted to again have ITCA Abu Dhabi taking place alongside SIAL Middle East, and look forward to three busy days of business meetings, knowledge sharing and dedicated seminar sessions on issues unique to international travel catering.”
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “It’s a tremendous honour to sponsor this year’s event in our home city, Abu Dhabi. The emirate and UAE capital city epitomise great hospitality and service, and that’s something we extend day-in day-out in our global operations.
“ITCA Abu Dhabi gives us a unique platform to showcase our world class approach to food and hospitality to a wider international catering industry audience, and we look forward to welcoming the delegates on our stand.
“From Inflight Chefs in Diamond First class, to Food and Beverage Managers in Pearl Business class, to how take care of our guests in Coral Economy class, delegates will see for themselves how our food and hospitality philosophy and its practical implementation are more akin to fine hotels and restaurants than other airlines.”
ITCA Abu Dhabi will also feature a dedicated Hosted Buyer programme for procurement executives of major airlines, cruise and rail operators, in-flight catering companies and executive chefs, along with the Mercury Awards on 25 November, celebrating industry leaders at a gala dinner for products and services that bring innovation to the world of travel catering.
SIAL Middle East 2013 is the region’s fastest growing professional business platform for the food, drink and hospitality industries, and is part of SIAL Group, the world’s largest network of professional B2B food exhibitions which include SIAL Paris, SIAL China, SIAL Canada, and SIAL Brazil.
Now in its fourth year in Abu Dhabi, and also co-located with the Emirates International Date Palm Festival, the three-day event will host more than 1,000 food, beverage and equipment companies from 40 countries and is expected to attract more than 15,000 trade visitors.
SIAL Middle East returns with a three-day conference, a hosted buyer programme, La Cuisine by SIAL international chef competition, and the prestigious SIAL Innovation Observatory, showcasing the world’s most innovative food and beverage products, including winners from the global competitions from events in China, Brazil, Canada and Paris.
For more information and to register for SIAL Middle East and ITCA Abu Dhabi, go to www.sialme.com.