Are GCC states prepared for net zero in aviation?


Al-Monitor Pro Members


Kate Dourian

Non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute


June 23, 2024

Bottom Line:

Less than two weeks after devastating floods disrupted air traffic at Dubai International Airport (DXB) in mid-April, the Dubai government announced revived plans to expand Al Maktoum International Airport, also known as Dubai World Central (DWC). On completion of a second phase, DWC will cover an area of 70 square kilometers (27 square miles) with capacity to handle 260 million passengers. Dubai is not alone in building on the success of its aviation industry, a key contributor to the UAE’s economy. Abu Dhabi has added a terminal at Zayed International Airport capable of handling 45 million passengers a year and plans to expand capacity to 65 million passengers over the next decade. Saudi Arabia is also investing in aviation with the launch of two new airlines alongside national airline Saudia. Riyadh is planning a new airport capable of handling 120 million passengers a year near the capital and a massive expansion of Jeddah airport to eventually handle more than 100 million travelers. In Qatar, Hamad airport in Doha plans to raise capacity to 70 million passengers annually

All this will lead to much higher demand for jet fuel at a time when the industry is under pressure to decarbonize. The challenge will be to secure Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as new mandates come into effect. These Gulf Arab states will need to act fast to secure SAF in order to remain competitive in a carbon constrained world.  

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