Key trends impacting the development of airports in the Middle East

Air travel growth in Saudi Arabia is anticipated to remain significant
Key trends impacting the development of airports in the Middle East
These trends not only revolutionize airport operations but also set new benchmarks for the future of air travel, according to the report.

Airport development in the region is being driven by technology, sustainability, and passenger demands.

According to a recent analysis by Bain & Company, the Middle East is witnessing a significant shift towards sustainable practices, technological innovation, and improved passenger experiences.

These trends not only revolutionize airport operations but also set new benchmarks for the future of air travel.

The focus on sustainability is becoming increasingly prominent in the region’s airports. Bain & Company’s Akram Alami, who heads the Middle East Utilities, Aviation, and Sustainability & Responsibility practices, highlights that airports are actively pursuing sustainability initiatives.

According to him, the airports’ goals include obtaining carbon-neutral certification, constructing eco-friendly infrastructure, and adopting renewable energy sources.

He added that these initiatives are part of a comprehensive strategy to address climate change and meet passengers’ expectations for more sustainable travel options.

Read more: Top performing airports in Saudi Arabia highlighted in GACA report

Key obstacles

However, airports face various challenges in implementing sustainable practices.

Ilya Yamshchikov, associate partner at Bain & Company Middle East, points out key obstacles such as high initial costs for green technologies, regulatory constraints, and the need for stakeholder alignment.

Additionally, integrating sustainability into existing infrastructure without disrupting operations and overcoming technological limitations pose significant hurdles.

Furthermore, she added that overcoming these challenges requires collaboration among airports, airlines, ground handling operators, regulatory bodies, and local communities.


Investing in digital solutions

Passenger expectations have evolved, demanding seamless and personalized travel experiences.

In response, airports are investing in digital solutions that offer real-time communication, personalized services, and integrated mobility platforms.

The ultimate goal is to create a more efficient and enjoyable travel experience from the moment passengers leave their homes until they reach their destinations.

Technological advancements 

Moreover, according to Bain & Company, technological advancements in airport terminals are also evident.  

Digital biometric screening and contactless services are streamlining security and boarding processes, improving operational efficiency, and enhancing the overall travel experience.

Airports are leveraging technologies like Computed Tomography (CT) baggage scanners and body scanners to expedite security checks without compromising safety.

Bain & Company partner Mauro Anastasi, member of the Aviation practice, predicts that these trends will continue shaping airport development, leading to more efficient and passenger-centric facilities. 

These developments will significantly transform airline operations and the overall travel experience, making air travel more accessible, enjoyable, and sustainable for future generations, he added.

The report further noted that looking ahead, Middle Eastern airports are poised to lead by example, demonstrating how innovative and sustainable solutions can reshape the future of air travel in alignment with global environmental goals and consumer expectations.

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