Emirates announce Penang, Malaysia, as next Asian destination
Emirates today announced a daily service from Dubai to Penang, Malaysia, using the B777-300ER. It’ll begin on 9 April and will operate via Singapore, seemingly with fifth freedoms. Its one-stop operation is presumably from both its current lack of lower-gauge aircraft until its B787-9s arrive and it not believing it would be sufficiently worthwhile to operate Penang non-stop with B777-300ERs, even with cargo.
Penang Emirates’ second destination in Malaysia
Penang will be Emirates’ second destination in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur which it serves three-daily in the current week. Emirates presently serves Singapore four-daily non-stop. One of these, routing Dubai – Singapore – Brisbane, is due to end in March. As such, its new Dubai – Singapore – Penang service will also enable Emirates to keep Singapore at four-daily.
Qatar Airways operates Doha – Penang non-stop
Qatar Airways currently serves Penang five-weekly non-stop from its Doha hub using the 254-seat B787-8. It began the route in February 2018. Last year, it operated the A330, including the 305-seat -300, in the summer season. OAG Traffic Analyser shows that Qatar Airways is by far the leading operator on a two-way basis between Penang and Europe, Middle East, and Africa. In 2019, it is estimated that its largest city-pair markets were London, Manchester, Istanbul, Munich, and Frankfurt.
Emirates’ (temporary?) disadvantage
Across all operators, Western Europe was by far the largest region to/from Penang in 2019, with an estimated 155,000 passengers. In all, the UK (55,000) and Germany (28,000) had by far the highest volumes. Emirates’ two-stop offer over Dubai will, of course, be a disadvantage, albeit no doubt temporarily, given easy one-stops with Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines. It will be offset by Singapore – Penang – Singapore traffic. This airport-pair had 920,000 seats in 2019 across four operators: AirAsia (328,000); SilkAir (307,000); Tigerair (155,000); and Jetstar (130,000). It is overwhelmingly LCC-driven., raising questions over yields and how long it’ll be a one-stop service.