Paris – As the number of U.S.-based air carriers shrinks through mergers and cuts to long-haul routes, the void looks to be filled by a growing number of Gulf regional airlines. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar, along with Turkish Airlines, seem eager and anxious to extend their reach. All have either introduced direct routes to the U.S. this year or have plans to launch such routes in 2014.
Etihad will fly to four U.S. cities next year, beginning with Los Angeles, and Qatar will boost its U.S. destinations to six when it launches routes to Philadelphia and Miami. Turkish Airlines, which already flies to 190 destinations that include the U.S, has plans for about 60 more during the next few years. Turkish already is the largest international carrier in Africa, serving countries with expanding economies like Rwanda and Nigeria.
These developments suggest there will be changes to the way people travel to trade shows in the years ahead. Added airlift for long-haul markets and hubs for Gulf-area carriers will create easier travel to and from the Middle East. Etihad Air already has begun to link its existing hubs to those in Europe. Both moves make it easier for a growing market of potential trade show attendees to travel beyond their own region. The addition of more long-haul routes to the U.S. should spur an increase in U.S. trade show participation by executives from the Middle East as well as bring more Western travelers to expositions in the Middle East.
Shows in the Middle East are already growing. According to data from UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, the Middle East posted a 16% increase in market share of space rented for exhibitions during 2006-2011. Dubai, United Arab Emirates, hosted 104 events in 2012 and Iran hosted 219 events.
Reach Paul Woodward at UFI at (011) 33 14 639 7500 or email@example.com