New figures have been released that show the United Arab Emirates to be the Middle East's largest consumer of jet fuel.
It has emerged that the UAE's demand was more than a third of the region's total jet fuel supply; this is more than Saudi Arabia – the Arab world's largest consumer of energy.
Official data from the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (Oapec) shows that the UAE got through around 85,000 barrels of jet fuel a day in 2010 - a 44% increase over its 2006 demand.
The UAE's need for jet fuel has been continuing to rise for a number of years. In 2007 it reached 67,900 bpd, before growing to 70,600 bpd in 2008. Demand hit 79,000 bpd in 2009 and 85,000 barrels in 2010. Figures for last year have not yet been released, but experts believe the country's jet fuel consumption may have overtaken 2010 volumes.
This growth in demand has been attributed to a rise in flights by national airlines, in addition to increased airport operations, mainly in Dubai – the heart of the UAE's business and tourism industries.
With around 64,100 bpd consumed in 2010, Oapec found Saudi Arabia to be the second largest consumer of jet fuel. Egypt was fifth with almost 12,400 bpd, followed by Oman with 9,200 bpd.
An estimated $200 billion (€149 billion) will be invested in the Middle East's aviation sector throughout the next 15 years, and the UAE is predicted to be the main investor. An additional $103 billion will be put towards airport expansions, over half of which will come from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, according to the Arab League.
In Jebel Ali, Maktoum Airport is currently under construction and is expected to be one of the largest airports in the world when it comes online. This alone is accounting for 40% of these total investments. In addition, 10 key airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are undergoing expansion projects, costing in the region of $78.6 billion.
Maktoum Airport alone is costing Dubai in the region of $50 billion to build, while the project to expand Dubai International Airport to increase its capacity to 40 million people will cost around $4.1 billion.
Abu Dhabi's government is looking to invest an estimated $6.8 billion to expanding its international airport and $200 million on its Al Ain Airport. $800 million will be invested on Ajman Airport.
Airports across the UAE will be able to handle almost 400 million passengers annually in 2012.