Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways networks compared

Warsaw in Poland, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Basra in Iraq have all received new MEB3 connections during the last 12 months. Note the Ryanair and GOL aircraft in the pictures, demonstrating that some airports can attract both LCCs and high quality long-haul carriers. Emirates still leads Qatar Airways (by 113 to 104) in terms of destinations served non-stop from their hubs, with Etihad Airways some way behind on 74.

It has been almost a year since anna.aero last looked in detail at the route networks of the “Middle East Big 3” (MEB3) airlines of Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways last August. Since then, each of the carriers has launched non-stop services to a number of destinations.

Emirates (Dubai) Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) Qatar Airways (Doha)
Adelaide (ADL)
Algiers (ALG)
Lyon (LYS)
Phuket (HKT)
Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Warsaw (WAW)
Washington Dulles (IAD)
Ahmedabad (AMD)
Amsterdam (AMS)
Belgrade (BEG)
Sao Paulo (GRU)
Washington Dulles (IAD)
Basra (BSR)
Casablanca (CMN)*
Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
Gassim (ELQ)
Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)*
Najaf (NJF)
Salalah (SLL)
Tokyo Narita (NRT)*
Tripoli (TIP)*
Warsaw (WAW)
Yangon (RGN)
Source: anna.aero new route database
* Upgraded from one-stop service to non-stop
  • Of these new routes Adelaide, Belgrade, Gassim, Lyon, Najaf, Phuket, Salalah, Tokyo Haneda, Warsaw and Yangon, are new destinations for the MEB3 carriers taken as a whole.
  • Emirates had added a total of seven new non-stop destinations, and dropped one (Damascus), leaving it with 113 destinations served non-stop from Dubai.
  • Qatar Airways has added a total of 11 new non-stop destinations, and dropped one (Benghazi), leaving it with 104 destinations served non-stop. Four of its new non-sop routes (Casablanca, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo Narita and Tripoli) were previously served via an intermediate stop.
  • Etihad Airways has added a total of five new non-stop destinations, and dropped one (Damascus), leaving it with 74 destinations served non-stop.
  • Since last August’s analysis, Emirates has increased its non-stop flights from its home base by 7.9%, Qatar Airways by 11.5%, and Etihad Airways by 13.1%.

Qatar Airways drops Nice and Stuttgart; Seychelles ending in September

During the last year, Qatar Airways has cut the number of destinations it only serves with an intermediate stop from 16 to 13. Four existing destinations have been upgraded to become non-stop services, three new destinations served via an intermediate stop have been added (Belgrade in Serbia, Maputo in Mozambique, and Phnom Penh in Cambodia), while two ‘one-stop’ destinations have been dropped; Nice (via Milan Malpensa ended 31 May 2013), and Stuttgart (via Zurich ended 28 October 12). In addition, the airline will cease operations to Mahe Island in the Seychelles from the beginning of September.

Several more new routes planned for remainder of 2013 and 2014

Routes so far announced by the MEB3 carriers which have not yet launched are:

  • Emirates (4 routes) to Stockholm Arlanda (4 September), Clark (1 October), Conakry (28 October), Kiev Borispol (16 January 2014).
  • Etihad Airways (2 routes) to Sana’a (1 September), Ho Chi Minh City (1 October).
  • Qatar Airways (5 routes) to Sulaymaniyah (20 August), Chengdu (3 September), Addis Ababa (18 September), Clark (27 October), Philadelphia (2 April 2014).

In addition, from 1 October, Emirates will begin daily flights between Milan Malpensa and New York JFK.

Middle East hub comparison - download the spreadsheet


  1. David says:

    please note that EK flights three daily and not daily as you said on your spreadsheet
    same with sydney.

  2. David says:

    I meant from melbourne and from sydney.
    you forgot to mention that EK flies to AKL and christchurch in NZ .

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your comment. The top part of our free, downloadable spreadsheet lists the number of weekly NON-STOP services from Dubai to the various destinations. Sydney is only served twice-daily non-stop, with a third daily flight operating via Bangkok. For Melbourne there is only one daily non-stop flight, with additional daily flights operating via Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Regarding Auckland (AKL) and Christchurch (CHC), they are listed in the lower part of the table, as both of these destinations are ONLY served with an intermediate stop.

      Ralph (Chief Analyst)

  3. ryan says:

    Ek to add Detroit any day

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