Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways combined now serve 109 destinations non-stop

Image: Qatar Airways launch services to Melbourne
This week’s launch of Qatar Airways’ services to Melbourne marks the rapidly expanding airline’s first venture into the South Pacific market. Sydney and Tokyo now appear to be the destinations next in line.

Since anna.aero last looked at the “Middle East Big 3” (MEB3) airlines of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways back in August (link to MEB3 trends of 28 August 2009), there have been a number of route developments. Due to security concerns, both Emirates and Etihad have dropped their services to Peshawar in Pakistan, while Qatar Airways has halved its frequency to just a single weekly flight.

Since anna.aero last looked at the “Middle East Big 3” (MEB3) airlines of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways back in August, there have been a number of route developments. Due to security concerns, both Emirates and Etihad have dropped their services to Peshawar in Pakistan, while Qatar Airways has halved its frequency to just a single weekly flight.

As a result of these changes, a total of 109 destinations are now served non-stop by the three carriers combined (up from 104 in August), with Amritsar, Chicago, Durban, Goa and Luanda being the new additions. Since our last analysis four months ago, Emirates has increased its non-stop flights by 4.7%, Etihad by just 0.9%, and Qatar Airways by 8.6%.

Several new routes already announced for 2010

A number of new routes have already been announced for 2010. Emirates will be starting Tokyo Narita flights in March followed by Amsterdam in May. None of the MEB3 airlines has until now chosen to serve the Dutch capital. Etihad will be joining its two major rivals by starting Colombo flights in January, followed by Nagoya (via Beijing) in February. It will also start Tokyo Narita flights in March. Qatar Airways has made it clear that it plans to launch several new routes during 2010, but has yet to specify which new cities will be added. On its online route map, Sydney and Tokyo are, however, listed as destinations “launching soon”.

Excel: Middle East Hubs


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