There is a battle going on in the Middle East for your dollars. Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar are all neck and neck trying to get as many passengers from London into their hub airports… and one of them is winning.
Emirates is now running 11 daily flights to the UK capital. In contrast, Qatar is offering train rides and Etihad has lost a colossal amount of money.
What are the details?
Emirates has 11 daily flights between its hub in Dubai and one of three airports in London (Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted).
Tickets on this route cost around $491 USD (or 371 GBP).
The new flight will connect to London Stansted on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER. It will start on July 1st this year.
Normally, at this point of the article we would dive into the inflight experience, details about why this new route will be effective for the airline… but with 10 flights already between these two cities each day, it’s pretty well covered.
Who is the competition?
As mentioned, they are not the only big Middle Eastern carrier trying to win business on the London route.
Qatar currently operates nine direct flights between Doha and London (flying to Heathrow and Gatwick). They also offer something which is not often seen: a flight to Birmingham, then a train transfer to London! (Stay tuned for Simple Trains coming 2020).
Qatar sells these tickets for around $725 (or 556 GBP).
Coming in last place is Etihad. They only fly between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow and, right now, have just three flights a day. This is leagues behind both Qatar and Emirates.Etihad uses only A380s for this route. Photo: Airbus
The interesting thing is, they have picked the hardest and most expensive airport to operate to – London Heathrow. They could save a fortune by flying to Gatwick or other cheaper airports, that not only have lower landing fees but more slots to expand their services. For an airline that is losing a massive amount of money every day, they don’t seem to be making the right moves on this route.
Etihad sells these fares for $660 (or a nice round 500 GBP).
Naturally, these fares don’t make too much sense in the context of flying between their hubs, so here is what each airline charges on the Kangaroo route between Sydney and London.
It seems Qatar and Etihad are going head to head on price, whilst Emirates is confidently operating at nearly double the fare. This seems crazy, and yet Emirates is easily filling their demand with nine A380s flying to London and two 777-300ER’s. That is a lot of capacity being snapped up.
What do you think? Who is the real winner on this route? Let us know in the comments below!