Flight Friday: Widebody Recovery Sluggish In Middle East

Airbus A380
Credit: Rob Finlayson

As Aviation Week Events MRO Latin America closes, we look forward to the next industry event, which is MRO Middle East.

This week's #FlightFriday looks at the recovery of Middle East operators flights (cycles) compared to the equivalent month in 2019.

Middle East carriers thrive on transit passengers through the major Middle Eastern hubs, however, the COVID outbreak put a halt on international traffic, and the domestic market within Middle Eastern countries is not particularly large, so operators struggled.


The very small regional jet and turboprop market recovered well, but the number of aircraft, therefore flights, done by those aircraft, is very low.

Narrowbody (single aisle) jets recovered to equivalent 2019 levels in summer 2022, remaining above those levels since.

Widebody (twin aisle) aircraft are the backbone of Middle East operators though, and this is the market taking the longest to recover. Initially some widebody recovery occurred due to the large number of dedicated widebody cargo aircraft in the region, however recovery has slowly crept up to 85% levels as of January 2023, so there is still a journey to complete in the Middle East.

This data was put together using Aviation Week’s Tracked Aircraft Utilization tool

Daniel Williams

Based in the UK, Daniel is the Manager of Fleet, Flight and Forecast data for Aviation Week Network. Prior to joining Aviation Week in 2017, Daniel held a number of industry positions analyzing fleet data.