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Nick Pilbeam, divisional director, Reed Travel Exhibitions Nick Pilbeam, divisional director, Reed Travel Exhibitions

First 14 Airlines Confirmed for CONNECT Middle East, India & Africa Forum

Fourteen airlines have already confirmed their participation at CONNECT Middle East, India & Africa – co-located with Arabian Travel Market 2019 and taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre on April 30 and May 01.

Senior network planning teams from Emirates, Etihad, flydubai, Air Arabia, Air Asia, EgyptAir, flyadeal, Ethiopian Airlines, Global Airways, Atlas Global, Germania, Mahan Air, Royal Air Maroc and Titan Airways will attend the inaugural route development forum.

Throughout 2018, GCC airlines have added 58 new flight routes, focusing on areas of consistent and substantial growth - according to research from Colliers International - based on a sample of 10 airlines including Emirates, Etihad, flydubai, Salaam Air, Oman Air, Gulf Air, Saudia, flyadeal, Air Arabia and IndiGo Airlines.

Karin Butot, CEO, The Airport Agency, added, “2018 has been an exciting year for new flight routes both to and from the GCC, underscoring Dubai as the ideal location to bring together professionals from the aviation and tourism industry for the inaugural CONNECT Middle East, India and Africa forum.”

With up to 400 delegates, CONNECT Middle East, India & Africa 2019 will include unlimited one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments, a conference programme, panel discussions and airline and industry briefings as well as an exhibition area dedicated to airports and suppliers.

Looking at the UAE alone, almost 50 percent of new routes introduced in 2018 are to destinations across Europe, with the second largest share of new flights connecting the UAE with Russia.

Nick Pilbeam, divisional director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said, “With two thirds of the world’s population within an eight-hour flight from the GCC, it is an ideal base for exploring some of the world’s most interesting and previously inaccessible corners of the world. And the GCC’s airlines are making it even easier with the continuous addition of new and direct flight routes.”
During the period 2018 to 2020, as many as 14,5 million EU residents are expected to travel to the UAE, while the number of Russian visitors to the UAE is expected to increase by 69 percent from 530,000 in 2017 to 895,700 in 2018.

Supporting this demand, Emirates have introduced new routes to London Stansted, Edinburgh, Lyon and Paris; Etihad to Barcelona; flydubai to Catania, Thessaloniki, Krakow, Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Helsinki; and Air Arabia to Prague, Moscow Sheremetyevo and Grozny.