Qatar Airways passes Emirates for destinations served non-stop

Budapest in Hungary, Edinburgh in Scotland and Amsterdam in the Netherlands have all received new MEB3 connections during the last 12 months. Qatar Airways (with 126) has now overtaken Emirates (121) in terms of destinations served non-stop from their respective hubs, with Etihad Airways some way behind on 87.

It has again been just over a year since last looked in detail at the route networks of the “Middle East Big 3” (MEB3) airlines of Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. Since then, each of the carriers has launched non-stop services to a number of destinations, although in some cases this is just an upgrade from being a one-stop, same aircraft service.

Emirates (Dubai) Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) Qatar Airways (Doha)
Brussels (BRU)
Budapest (BUD)
Denpasar (DPS)
Multan (MUX)
Oslo (OSL)
Brisbane (BNE)*
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
Edinburgh (EDI)
Entebbe (EBB)
Hong Kong (HKG)
Kolkata (CCU)
Madrid (MAD)
Phuket (HKT)
San Francisco (SFO)
Amsterdam (AMS)
Asmara (ASM)
Cape Town (CPT)*
Djibouti (JIB)
Faisalabad (LYP)
Kilimanjaro (JRO)*
Multan (MUX)
Phuket (HKT)*
Sialkot (SKT)
Sofia (SOF)*
Zagreb (ZAG)*
Source:’s New Route Database, OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 11 August 2014 and w/c 10 August 2015.
* Upgraded from one-stop service to non-stop.
Bold destinations are airports served for the first time by any of the MEB3 carriers.
  • Of these new routes just four are to destinations not previously served by any MEB3 carrier: Asmara in Eritrea; Djibouti in Djibouti; and Faisalabad and Multan in Pakistan. When this analysis was done last year the number of new destinations was as high as 20.
  • Emirates has added a total of five new non-stop destinations, and dropped five (Baghdad, Conakry, Erbil, Kozhikode and Sana’a) leaving it with 121 destinations served non-stop from Dubai. Flights to Baghdad and Erbil resumed in late August while Kozhikode services are scheduled to resume from the beginning of November.
  • Qatar Airways has added a total of 11 new non-stop destinations, and dropped four (Baghdad, Erbil, Sana’a and Sulaymaniyah), raising its network to 126 destinations served non-stop. Of its new non-stop routes five of them were previously served via an intermediate stop. In addition, the airline has also started service to Zanzibar in Tanzania via Kilimanjaro. Flights to Erbil resumed in early October.
  • Etihad Airways has added a total of nine new non-stop destinations, and dropped three (Baghdad, Erbil and Sana’a) leaving it with 87 destinations served non-stop.
  • Since last August’s analysis Emirates has increased its non-stop flights from its home base by 8.0%, Qatar Airways by 13.2%, and Etihad Airways by 11.9%. In terms of average weekly frequency on routes Emirates leads with 13.9 versus 11.9 for Qatar Airways and 11.0 for Etihad Airways. The corresponding figures for August 2014 were 12.9, 11.1 and 10.6 respectively, revealing how all three carriers are gradually increasing frequency across their networks.

Several more new routes planned for remainder of 2015 and 2016

Routes launched since the analysis period (w/c 10 August 2015) or announced by the MEB3 carriers which have not yet launched are:

  • Emirates (five routes) to Mashhad (1 September), Orlando (1 September), Bamako (25 October), Bologna (3 November), Panama City (1 February 2016).
  • Etihad Airways (two routes) to Peshawar (25 October, resumption) and Dar Es Salaam (1 December).
  • Qatar Airways (eight routes) to Abha (2 September), Nagpur (1 December), Durban (17 December, via Johannesburg), Los Angeles (1 January 2016), Ras Al Khaimah (1 February 2016), Sydney (1 March 2016), Boston (16 March 2016), Atlanta (1 June 2016).

In addition Etihad Airways had announced plans to serve Baku in Azerbaijan and Tbilisi in Georgia but these routes have now been delayed indefinitely it seems.

Download the Middle East hub comparison spreadsheet

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  1. Sergey Dobritskiy says:

    Emirates suspended CKY once on 07APR14 with resume on 01JUN14 and then suspended it since 02AUG15 until now.
    The period you analysed, as far as I understand, is 11AUG14 – 10AUG15.
    So why have you mentioned CKY?

    • I think you’ve answered your own question there Sergey. We compared two weeks – 11-17 August 2014 and 10-16 August 2015. During the first period CKY was served, and during the second period it wasn’t, so that’s why we list it as a dropped route.

  2. Binta diallo says:

    Hello i would like to Know when is Emirates coming back in cky

  3. Akmi says:

    Please note that Emirates has stopped flying to Tripoli and Damascus as well.

    • Emirates stopped flying to both of these cities quite a while ago (before August 2014) so are not listed among dropped routes. You will see in the spreadsheet that none of the MEB3 currently fly to either Tripoli or Damascus.

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