Qatar Airways and Emirates each adding several new destinations in summer 2010; Etihad adding Tokyo

The debut 2010 F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. In terms of international seats Bahrain ranks fourth in the Middle East just behind Abu Dhabi but beats it for international flights. The Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is fittingly the last race of the season on October 31.

Since last looked at the “Middle East Big 3” (MEB3) airlines of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways back in December there have been relatively few route developments. Emirates and Etihad who had both suspended their flights to Peshawar in Pakistan at the end of last year for security reasons have now both re-instated them. Etihad launched flights to Colombo on 1 January and also began serving Japan for the first time by starting Nagoya flights via Beijing. Meanwhile, Qatar Airways began serving Bengaluru/Bangalore on 22 February and re-started non-stop Jakarta services which were previously operated via Singapore. However, Casablanca which used to be served non-stop is now served daily via Tripoli in Libya instead. Since our last analysis three months ago Emirates has increased its non-stop flights by 1.8%, Etihad by 6.2% and Qatar Airways by 6.3%.

Several new routes already announced for 2010

During the remainder of 2010 Qatar Airways has so far announced plans to add five new destinations as non-stop services. These are Ankara, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen and Sao Paulo. In addition Tokyo Narita will be added to the network (but will be served via Osaka Kansai), while Seoul Incheon will be served non-stop for the first time instead of via Osaka Kansai.

Emirates is planning to add Amsterdam, Dakar, Madrid, Prague and Tokyo Narita as new non-stop destinations before the end of the year. Etihad has also revealed plans to add Tokyo Narita.

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Emirates globe at ITB Berlin

The big Emirates globe at ITB Berlin last week. Emirates is planning to add Amsterdam, Dakar, Madrid, Prague and Tokyo Narita as new non-stop destinations before the end of the year.

Bahrain ranks fourth for international capacity

Last weekend the sporting media was focussed on Bahrain as the 2010 Formula 1 season got underway. In terms of international seat capacity Bahrain ranks fourth in the Middle East only just behind Abu Dhabi but beats Abu Dhabi for international flights. However, Gulf Air is far less dominant in Bahrain than Etihad is in Abu Dhabi.

Airport Weekly flights
Weekly seat capacity
Biggest carrier
(share of international seat capacity)
Dubai 2,356 578,102 Emirates (58.4%)
Doha 1,040 219,984 Qatar Airways (75.1%)
Abu Dhabi 798 157,140 Etihad (64.4%)
Bahrain 837 146,770 Gulf Air (50.7%)
Kuwait City 728 128,430 Kuwait Airways (26.0%)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 1 March 2010

In fifth place is Kuwait City where Jazeera Airways is now close to overtaking Kuwait Airways as the airport’s busiest carrier. Both Jeddah and Riyadh serve more passengers than Bahrain and Kuwait City but a significant share of their traffic is domestic traffic within Saudi Arabia.


  1. Alexander ter Kuile says:

    Great research, but you seem to have overlooked Amsterdam Schiphol as a destination. AMS will have the following Summer 2010 non-stop scheduled services to DXB, AUH and DOH:

    – DXB: EK 7x, KL 13x, GA 7x = 27x
    – AUH: KL 5x = 5x
    – DOH: KL 5x = 5x

    (- KWI: KL 7x = 7x)

    TOTAL: 37x which equals FRA.

    • We have only looked at the ‘MEB3′ airlines’ (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways) current schedules (the week commencing 8 March 2010), although it is true, as you say, that Emirates will operate daily to Amsterdam from 1 May.

  2. B Underwood says:

    Unlike you specify in your article, besides Bengaluru/Bangalore QR will also add service to Barcelona, Copenhagen, Ankara, Sydney and Tokyo. This past week it officialy announced that it will also begin service to South America by adding Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires to its expanding global network.

    • With the exception of Sydney, I think you will find that we do mention the upcoming destinations on your list. Sydney has, however, not been officially announced with a start date yet, although we have previously reported on Sydney being listed as “launching soon” on Qatar Airways’ online route map and the airline has openly talked about launching flights there.

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