Skip to main content

Middle East airlines to suffer losses again in 2022

The International Air Transport Association said that airlines in the region will fare somewhat better financially due to the return of long-haul flights.
A picture shows an Emirates Airlines airplane at Dubai International Airport on Feb. 1, 2021.

A major association of airlines made a somewhat bearish prediction for Middle Eastern airlines today. 

The International Air Transport Association released a report on the air travel industry during its annual summit, which is being held in the Qatari capital, Doha, this year. The trade association said that Middle Eastern airlines’ losses are “expected” to drop to $1.9 billion in 2022, down from a whopping $4.7 billion last year. The return of lengthy routes across continents will help the industry in the Middle East. 

“In the Middle East, this year’s reopening of international routes and long-haul flights in particular will provide a welcome boost for many,” read the report. 

The association added that they expect capacity and demand for air travel in the region to reach around 80% of its pre-pandemic levels this year. 

Why it matters: The COVID-19 pandemic decimated Middle Eastern airlines. Emirates in Dubai posted a loss of more than $5 billion in 2020. Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi reported a $1.7 billion loss. Qatar Airways sustained a $4.1 billion loss during its 2020-2021 fiscal year. Turkish Airlines suffered a $761 million loss in 2020. 

The industry is faring somewhat better now. Many airlines recovered much of their pre-coronavirus passenger routes and cargo levels last year.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Istanbul in particular are major international transit hubs. 

Relatedly, Emirates' loss was a comparatively smaller $1.1 billion in 2021, while Etihad lost $476 million. Qatar Airways actually posted a profit of more than $1.54 billion during the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Turkish Airlines also reported a profit of $959 million. 

Know more: Some Gulf airlines have announced several new projects this year. Emirates signed deals to boost tourism to Saudi Arabia and Thailand in February. In May, Etihad announced it tested out flights that are slightly better for the environment. 

Qatar is also working to increase the frequency of flights over its airspace. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Gulf Briefing Gulf Briefing

Gulf Briefing

Top GCC stories in your inbox each week

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial