National carriers expand networks to meet rising demand

Since the beginning of 2024, national carriers have added more than 30 destinations to their networks to accommodate growing demand, particularly for popular summer spots in Europe and Asia. This expansion follows a period of record growth and positive results.

Etihad Airways added about 11 new destinations this year, including Gassim in Saudi Arabia, Malaga in Spain, Nice in France, Santorini and Mykonos in Greece, Jaipur in India, Bali in Indonesia, Boston in the US, and Antalya in Türkiye. During June, the airline launched flights to eight new destinations, bringing its total to 76. Notable new routes include Nice, Antalya, and the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

Emirates Airlines carried 51.9 million passengers in the fiscal year 2023/2024, a 19% increase over the previous year, with a 21% rise in seat capacity. The airline currently operates to 144 destinations in 78 countries with a fleet of 259 aircraft. This year, Emirates launched new services to Colombia via Miami and announced upcoming routes to Madagascar, Edinburgh, Nigeria, and Phnom Penh.

flydubai operates flights to 129 destinations in 58 countries and plans to add 14 new destinations in 2024. This year, it has already launched routes to Lankai and Penang in Malaysia, Mombasa in Kenya, and various destinations in Pakistan and Russia. The airline will also introduce services to Kerman and Kish in Iran, Basel in Switzerland, Riga in Latvia, and Tallinn in Estonia.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi expects 30% growth in passenger numbers and operational capacity in 2024, aiming to transport about 4 million passengers. The airline, which experienced a 135% increase in 2023, currently flies to around 40 destinations. Its network includes routes to Egypt, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Türkiye, Greece, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Georgia, Bahrain, the Maldives, Oman, Bosnia, Albania, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

Air Arabia carried over 4.4 million passengers in the first quarter of 2024, a 13% increase from the same period last year. The airline has added flights to 11 summer destinations and resumed services to Trabzon in Türkiye. Additionally, it increased frequencies to Baku, Salalah, Colombo, Istanbul, and Cairo. New flights from Sharjah include routes to Athens and Krakow, with increased frequencies to Milan, Sarajevo, Amman, Beirut, Tbilisi, and Baku.

In total, the UAE’s airports handled 36.5 million passengers in the first three months of 2024, a 14.7% increase from the same period last year. This growth is attributed to the robust performance of the trade, tourism, and travel sectors, alongside rising global demand for air travel.