Gulf airlines look East for brand new business

Emirates president: We are here to grow our business

The three big Gulf airlines are looking to Asia as they try to leave the turbulence of 2017 behind.

Trump administration policies, tension with American rivals as well as also regional political upheaval disrupted business at Emirates, Qatar Airways as well as also Etihad last year.

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The Gulf carriers have grown rapidly over the past decade by taking advantage of their geographical location to build hubs connecting Asia with Europe as well as also North America.

currently they’re looking at ways to grow further within Asia after running into some transatlantic headwinds.

“Despite the unpleasantries, 2017 set in motion strategic developments likely to unfurl during 2018,” research firm CAPA – Centre for Aviation said in a recent report. “Asia-Pacific is actually set to receive more Gulf growth than originally expected,” in which added.

Related: Big U.S. airlines claim win in Qatar subsidy dispute

Speaking to sy88pgw at the globe Economic Forum in Davos last month, Qatar’s finance minister said the national carrier is actually set to launch 10-15 brand new routes in 2018.

Doha to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is actually one of them, part of Qatar Airways “continued expansion in Southeast Asia,” the airline said in a recent statement.

in which launched a direct flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2017 as well as also added a route to Pattaya in January, becoming the first Middle East carrier to fly to the Thai city. in which will also start flying to Malaysia’s Penang This particular month.

Qatar Airways is actually emerging coming from a particularly rocky year. In addition to being hit by a U.S. electronics ban as well as also travel ban, the airline lost 18 destinations — as well as also 50 flights a day — after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain as well as also Egypt cut diplomatic as well as also transport links with Qatar in June.

“Qatar Airways continues to pursue growth without its key neighboring markets to use as source traffic, while being forced to make significant detours on many routes,” CAPA said in its report. “Once they are restored — as logic suggests they eventually will — This particular will provide a boost for the brand new Qatar,” in which added.

Also looking east is actually Etihad. in which has announced one brand new route This particular year, to Baku in Azerbaijan.

The airline had a rough 2017 as partner airlines in Europe — Air Berlin as well as also Alitalia — ran into deep financial trouble. A brand new group CEO took charge last month.

Analysts say the airline may need a period of reflection before going after brand new business again aggressively.

“which has a brand new leadership in place, Etihad will be focused on assessing as well as also restructuring their stakes as well as also partnerships with some other carriers,” said Rob Watts, managing director at Aerotask, a global aviation consultancy firm. “This particular is actually anticipated to result inside the carrier continuing to reduce its frequencies on various routes.”

Related: Airbus A380: Will $16B Emirates order save the superjumbo?

Etihad — like its UAE rival Emirates — also had to cut flights to the U.S. last year after demand dropped.

Emirates has since seen an uptick as well as also reinstated the U.S. flights. in which also added a second direct service to Newark, citing a “steady rebound in customer demand.”

however the Dubai-based airline is actually also getting closer to local low-cost partner FlyDubai. Since October, they have announced 81 codeshare flights, as well as also the majority of those destinations are in Asia.

“We are expecting to see more cooperation along the lines of codeshare as well as also partnerships among Gulf carriers in 2018, rather than consolidation,” said Watts of Aerotask.

sy88pgw (Dubai) First published February 7, 2018: 10:31 AM ET

Gulf airlines look East for brand new business

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