The Middle East recorded a 26% growth in air connectivity in 2022 versus 2019, according to a new report from Airports Council International Asia-Pacific and Middle East (ACI APAC & MID).

ACI’s Airport Connectivity Report was released to coincide with the launch of its Middle East office in Riyadh.

Developed in partnership with PwC, the Airport Connectivity Report measures passengers’ ability to access the global air transport network, capturing both direct and indirect routes, and also factoring in the quality of service of each connection, such as destination choice, service frequency, onward connectivity and price, contributing to the passenger experience.

The report covers a sample of 100 airports that accounts for almost 60% of the combined passenger traffic in the region in 2019.

Improving Middle East air connectivity

The report reveals that air connectivity in the Middle East stands out with 26% growth in total connectivity in 2022 vs 2019, with direct connectivity to destinations in North America, Asia-Pacific and Africa witnessing the strongest recovery post-Covid.

On the contrary, Asia-Pacific has seen a decline in air connectivity by 38% in the same period.

Several key factors contribute to the decline in air connectivity, including extended travel restrictions due to Covid-19, limitations on air traffic rights, constraints on airport slots, rising airfares, economic downturns, and geopolitical tensions.

This decline in air connectivity, coupled with increasing airfares, illustrates its negative impact on the recovery of air travel and the resultant inconvenience to passengers.

From the passenger’s perspective, connectivity is essential for mobility, providing significant economic and social advantages. Nevertheless, preliminary rankings for 2023 suggest a positive outlook for the region.
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