Etihad playing catch-up in Middle East hub battle

Last July looked at the competitive Middle East transfer market and promised to re-visit the issue to see how the battle between the big-spending airlines of the region was panning out. Six months on it is time to see how the networks of these ambitious carriers is changing. Since mid-2007 the following new non-stop routes have been added.

Image: Newcastle’s Emirates Tower
Newcastle’s “Emirates Tower.” This kind of large city, often by-passed by more traditonal long-hauliers, gives an indication of the kind of cities the competing Middle East resorts and their allied carriers need to develop an appetite for as destinations for their many new aircraft.

Since July Etihad has added frequency across many of its routes in an attempt to catch up its larger rivals. The downloadable spreadsheet lists those destinations served non-stop by these three carriers from their hubs. One-stop destinations such as Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand are therefore omitted as these are served via points in Australia.

Download Middle East Hub
Comparison Excel document

Dubai has now become such a popular destination in its own right that Emirates’ share of capacity at the airport is just 53%, compared with Etihad’s 70% of capacity at Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways which has 77% of capacity at Doha.

  Emirates Qatar Airways Etihad
New non-stop
routes added
Sao Paulo
Milan Malpensa
Source: Airlines


  1. Mervin says:

    Etihad is amazing. It will overtake EK and QR one day. Just a thing of time.

  2. Etihad has grown to be one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. Certainly looks very promising for the future, but it is important to note that the airline is yet to make any profits from when its services began. A possible merger between Emirates is an option. If not a merger, then possible a codeshare or an alliance, or is this too anti-competitive. Interesting times ahead.

  3. Mervin says:

    Emirates is way ahead of Etihad at this present time, but the difference is money. Dubai is a massive debtor to Abu Dhabi. And one of the terms and conditions before the loan was that Abu Dhabi wanted a stake in Dubai’s Emirates. But this was scrapped. Etihad is fully subsidised by the Government, and has the money to take over Emirates, but this may not happen. However, Etihad is one of the fastest growing airlines, but is yet to make any profits, and is set to break-even some time in year 2011. Long life both the airlines. Interesting times ahead. . .

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