One Of Emirates’ Most Profitable Routes Is Surprising

Emirates serves 144 destinations across the globe with its well-balanced fleet. However, the operation that earns the most money for the airline is closer to home than expected. Its route to Riyadh from Dubai is its most profitable service.

Emirates A380
Emirates’ uses its Airbus A380 aircraft to transport passengers across the border. Photo: Emirates

Local business

The two Arabian cities are approximately 600 miles away from each other across the Persian Gulf. It seems it is this proximity that makes it such a lucrative service.

This route is often served by Emirates’ classy Airbus A380 aircraft. These superjumbos can hold nearly 600 passengers on two decks. Here, they take less than two hours to complete one of the four daily Riyadh-bound Emirates flights.

Bloomberg reports that these planes are being packed daily with business consultants, the majority of which aren’t native to the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. These businesspersons are mostly ex-pats that currently reside in the UAE for their jobs. However, with Saudi working closely with its neighboring nation, these consultants often find themselves having to cross the border.

Furthermore, many of the workers find that they have to be in Riyadh on a weekly basis but prefer to continue living in Dubai. This is because of the more relaxed laws of the region compared with its neighbors.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Dubai Air Show
Passengers flying to Riyadh from Dubai with Emirates will be able to travel with style. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying

Market growth

Over the last decade, Dubai has become attractive for ex-pats due to its warm weather and ambitious construction. However, it still manages to offer a decent level of freedom when it comes to western customs such as social mingling and alcohol consumption (at licensed venues).

On the other hand, there are often reports of Saudi not being as relaxed when it comes to these aspects. Therefore, rather than relocating to the country, these professionals prefer to take a fairly expensive trip on a regular basis.

Emirates’ first and business-class tickets sell out months beforehand. Even those that want to travel in economy have to fork out $1,089 if they want to book within the narrow commuting window. With the four daily flights being able to hold 1,600 seats altogether, the airline is operating a model with a great sustainable income.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Business Class Bar
The A380 is famed for its extra attention to comfort in the skies. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying

A natural fit

The A380’s operations are just part of 27 weekly flights from Dubai to Saudi Arabia. Altogether, services to the country contribute up to 60% of the revenue Emirates generates in the Middle East

There are 7.8 million expatriates in the UAE’s total population of 9.2 million. Therefore, Emirates is doing a great job of fulfilling the demand set by passengers that fall under this group. Additionally, as Airbus winds down its production of the A380, Emirates still finds great use in the jet.

Simple Flying reached out to Emirates for comment on this route between Dubai and Riyadh. We will update the article with any further announcements.

Have you had a chance to travel on this service? Let us know what you think of it in the comment section.