International Travel Catering Association eyes Gulf market opportunities as US$90 billion of airport infrastructure investment fuels aviation sector interest; 70 exhibitors from air, rail and sea sector signed up for event
Abu Dhabi, October 30 2012: The International Travel Catering Association (ITCA) will join forces with SIAL Middle East 2012 as members target new business opportunities in the region as aviation sector forecasts indicate exponential growth across the GCC through to 2020, buoyed by up to US$90 billion investment into infrastructure expansion.
ITCA Abu Dhabi which is sponsored by Etihad Airways and held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has entered into a co-location partnership with SIAL Middle East, the region’s fastest growing trade exhibition for the food, drink and hospitality industry.
The show will host over 70 exhibitors from across the air, rail and sea sectors including companies such as De Ster Driessen Aerospace Group Nv, Fly Hidrate, Linstol and Sola. Taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 26-28 November.
According to IATA reports, the Middle East will process 400 million air travellers by 2020 as state-of-the-art airports come on line, major carriers expand their route networks and aircraft orders from the Gulf region further boost capacity. The current pipeline of new hotels pegged for the region and expanding cruise facilities in several key destinations are also translating into new business opportunities will bring the industry’s main players together under one roof.
Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, ADFCA’s official spokesperson and Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee for SIAL Middle East, said ITCA joining hands with SIAL is a qualitative leap for SIAL and a welcome addition. “This reinforces the image of SIAL Middle East as the preeminent event of the food industry in the region. Against the backdrop of the massive development of the aviation industry in the UAE and in the wider region on the one hand and the spurt in the food trade on the other, ITCA will benefit substantially from this association,” he added.
“The Middle East market is definitely one to watch, and this will be the most significant outing for ITCA to date. Our 700-strong member base includes all major airlines, regional carriers and inflight catering companies, as well as sea, rail and other suppliers; and our Hosted Buyers programme puts them directly in front of the region’s top decision makers,” said Stephen White, ITCA President.
In the UAE, both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are forging ahead with airport expansion plans. Abu Dhabi’s new 700,000-square-metre Midfield Terminal Building is set to open in 2017 with capacity for 30 million passengers per annum, while Dubai International Airport’s new Concourse 3, which debuts in Q1 0213 will be the world’s first purpose-built A380 facility.
The 500,000-square metre concourse is part of the emirate’s US$7.8 billion 2020 aviation master plan, which aims to boost annual airport capacity to 90 million passengers by the end of the decade. Additional plans include the expansion of Terminal 2 to double its current size and a further concourse with capacity for over 110 international airlines.
Elsewhere in the GCC, Saudi Arabia is investing billions of dollars into airport expansion for all 27 of its existing sites, and will triple capacity at Riyadh International Airport by 2015 with the launch of a new terminal. Neighbouring Bahrain also plans to boost passenger capacity by 50 per cent by 2015.
The Gulf state of Qatar is investing over US$15 billion on airport development to accommodate aggressive expansion by Qatar Airways, with the first of three phases set to open at the end of 2012, with final completion expected by 2015. Kuwait International Airport has also unveiled a US$2.1 billion expansion plan, which will initially drive capacity up to 13 million passengers per year, with 50 million passengers targeted by 2017.
“The Middle East is leading global growth in long-haul airline seats and added 22,000 extra seats per day in September alone, according to the latest OAG report. The UAE is also the single biggest market for Airbus, with total orders valued at US$223.9 billion over the next 20 years. With this kind of mid to long-term growth forecast, there couldn’t be a better time for our members to convene in the region,” said White.
ITCA is bringing the Mercury Awards to the region for the first time. Mercury is the most prestigious award in travel catering worldwide, sought after by the best and most pro-active companies in the industry.
ITCA will also reveal the winners of its annual Mercury Awards at a gala event during the exhibition. These prestigious international travel catering awards cover eight categories including recognition for excellence in On Board Service, Skills Development, Equipment and Innovation.
For more information, please log onto http://itcaabudhabi.com/