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Carriers targeting untapped markets

Africa and GCC are some of the appealing markets

Gulf News

Dubai: International carriers are seizing the opportunity of entering new markets that are opening up today. This was one of the key topics discussed at Tuesday’s ‘Aviation Outlook 2013: the challenges and opportunities’ conference at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

The conference brought together top officials from the aviation industry, including Gaith Al Gaith, CEO of flydubai and Carsten Schaeffer, vice president-Mena of Lufthansa.

The opening up of new markets in Asia, Africa and elsewhere, as well as the need to service a constantly moving population, has pushed carriers to add more destinations to their network.

Flydubai recently added Juba, capital of South Sudan to its network of destinations.

Lufthansa too is making a similar move. “We are investigating opportunities. Africa is always interesting,” Schaeffer said. He added that Nigeria and Ghana, are “promising markets” that can further grow.

Meanwhile, GCC destinations are appealing to both regional and international carriers. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among Lufthansa’s strongest markets in the Mena region, according to Schaeffer.

“The GCC has opened up. In Saudi Arabia, we touched down now at nine points,” Al Gaith said.

Dubai, in particular, has attracted visitors from around the world. This has boosted demand for carriers in the country to fly to several new destinations through Dubai, according to Al Gaith.

The region’s low-cost carriers control 12 per cent of seats today, and it is expected to control 20 per cent in the next 20 years, according to Randy Tinseth, vice-president marketing of commercial airplanes at Boeing.