ANALYSIS: Leading Middle East markets and carriers April 2013

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Middle East carriers continue to lift their capacity sharply as Innovata schedules data for April shows five of the top 10 biggest carriers increased their ASKs by double-digit compared to the same month last year.

Emirates, by far the region's largest carrier, increased capacity almost a fifth. Fast-growing Etihad lifted load factor by almost 13%. Notably two of the region's growing low-cost operators, Flydubai and Air Arabia, also grew capacity sharply, by nearly 25 and 14% respectively in April compared to the same month last year. Flydubai, which only launched three years ago, is already the sixth biggest carrier in the region by weekly ASKs.

Top 10 Middle East carriers by capacity: April 2013


Capacity (ASKs)

Change v 2012

Emirates 5.02bn 19.7%
Qatar Airways 1.78bn


Etihad Airways 1.21bn 12.8%
Saudia 1.06bn 9.6%
El Al


Flydubai 0.28bn 24.6%
Oman Air 0.28bn 13.7%
Air Arabia 0.28bn 13.7%
Royal Jordanian 0.22bn 0.2%
Gulf Air 0.20bn -26.4%
Notes: Based on April 2013 versus 2012 weekly schedules data from Innovata

Given the strong growth of both Emirates and Flydubai, it is little surprise to see their home airport Dubai head the list of airports in the region as meaured in departing seats by week in the Innovata schedules. Dubai entered the top 10 of the world's biggest airports in 2012 ACI World preliminary figures recently showed in handling 57 million passengers. The new Dubai World Central airport meanwhile will open its doors for passenger traffic for the first time this winter when budget carriers Nasair and Wizz Air move over in October.

Top 10 Middle East airports by capacity: April 2013


Capacity (ASKs)

Change v 2012

Dubai 857,000 19.3%
Doha 296,000 6.7%
Jeddah 292,000 4.4%
Riyadh 233,000


Abu Dhabi


Tel Aviv 128,000 -7.1%
Kuwait 127,000 3.6%
Muscat 108,000 11.2%
Bahrain 104,000 -17.5%
Dammam 87,000 21.2%
Notes: Based on April 2013 versus 2012 weekly seats data

Dubai also continues to dominate the busiest routes out of the region, as measured in ASKs. All but four of the top 20 busiset routes from the Middle East are from Dubai in April.

There is particularly strong year-on-year growth on Australian routes to the UAE city. Flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth saw the fastest rate of additional capacity of any of the top 10 routes in April compared to the same month last year, reflecting the move by Qantas to switch its base for European flights from Singapore to the home of its new partner, Emirates.

Top 20 markets by capacity: April 2013



April 13 (ASKs)


Dubai London Heathrow 172m 28.0%
Jeddah Jakarta 116m 7.3%
Dubai Sydney 113m 50.6%
Dubai Bangkok 78m 10.8%
Dubai Melbourne 76m 134.8%
Dubai New York JFK 75m 10.0%
Dubai Singapore 71m 16.1%
Dubai Perth 67m 43.6%
Dubai Hong Kong 65m 24.8%
Dubai Kuala Lumpur 63m


Dubai Paris CDG 60m 14.2%
Abu Dhabi


59m 16.5%
Dubai Manila 58m 50.0%
Dubai Jakarta 57m 24.1%
Abu Dhabi

London Heathrow

54m 27.2%
Dubai Johannesburg 54m 0.0%
Dubai Washington Dulles 54m 147.1%
Tel Aviv New York JFK 53m -31.5%
Dubai Frankfurt 52m 7.2%
Dubai Manchester 51m 12.5%

Source: Innovata schedules date (April 2013)