Dhaka adds new routes; top-15 unserved routes analysed
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh, with the country’s population exceeding 168 million. It’s the world’s eighth most populous country, sandwiched in-between Nigeria (seventh) and Russia (ninth). Since 2014, Bangladesh’s GDP growth has averaged 7.3%, marginally greater than neighbouring India. In 2019, total seats to, from, and within Bangladesh totalled just 16.4 million; for context, that’s nearly five million fewer than London Luton. Not surprisingly, Bangladesh had <0.10 available seats per member of population, which shows the country’s potential at some point in the future. By contrast, India’s seats/population was nearly double, at 0.18, although that too was exceptionally low.
Dhaka welcomed multiple new routes, including Beijing and Manchester
Dhaka had 90% of the country’s seats last year. It has welcomed new routes including Biman Bangladesh and IndiGo to Delhi (July and August 2019 respectively); Himalaya Airlines to Kathmandu (July), SpiceJet to both Delhi and Mumbai (both July), and US-Bangla Airlines to Chennai (March). The development of Delhi stands out, even if the start dates missed half-a-year. In 2018, Jet Airways was the sole operator, with up to 11 weekly flights; now, three compete directly. OAG Traffic Analyser shows that 75,960 flew to/from Delhi in 2018, paying an average $203 one-way (plus 20%+ fuel surcharge each way and taxes). A year later, the average fare reduced by 45% to $111 as traffic grew 70% to 128,848.
Significantly, Biman Bangladesh started Manchester in January this year on a three-weekly basis using 298-seat B787-9s. This month, March, China Eastern began a brand-new daily service from Beijing Daxing to Dhaka using B737-800s. Beijing was a key unserved market from Dhaka, with 29,340 local passengers in 2019 pre-stimulation. This raises the question: where else could be served?
Dhaka’s top-15 unserved markets
The table, below, summarises Dhaka’s top-15 unserved markets in 2019 by passengers and average fares, with the a fare-per-mile graph following. Note that fares are one-way and crucially exclude a 20%+ fuel surcharge each way which airlines keep.
|Dhaka to/from:||Passengers two-way: 2019||Average one-way fare: 2019|
|Note: estimated figures. Fares are one-way and exclude fuel surcharge (add 20%+ each way), ancillaries, and taxes. * JFK; ** Narita; *** Malpensa; **** Pudong. Source: OAG Traffic Analyser.|
Rome is by far the largest unserved market in Europe from Italy having the continent’s second-largest Bangladeshi population after the UK. However, anna.aero recommends three markets for brand-new, non-stop service: Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo.
These three clearly stand out by fare-per-mile with sector lengths that aren’t too onerous and (relatively) strong average fares denoting a higher proportion of business class passengers. Beijing, which is no longer unserved, would have been in a similar position to these three in this figure. Tokyo, in particular, is notable, with a very high average fare and strong existing local traffic. Interestingly, Biman Bangladesh had the same idea: it expected to begin Tokyo in December 2019, citing stronger business ties and tourism nowadays, but the service did not commence. It therefore remains a key opportunity from Dhaka.