The Middle East's biggest air routes: Intra-regional city pairs dominate
Jeddah-Riyadh and Dubai-Doha are by far the busiest routes to, from or within the Middle East, but there are some changes ahead. A spike in capacity on the Dubai-London Heathrow route will see it take third place, while major cities linked with Cairo will see some seasonal reductions in coming months, namely Jeddah, Riyadh and Kuwait. More seats are being added from Dubai to the key Indian cities of Delhi and Mumbai, which will see them rise up the rankings.
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Dubai features in 12 of the region's top 20 city pairs, including seven of the ten leading routes by seats per week. Doha features twice (to Dubai and Bahrain), while Abu Dhabi makes the list in 20th position, to Muscat. The Saudi gateways Jeddah and Riyadh feature four and three times, respectively.
Interestingly, the remaining 15 city pairs in the top flight are all within the region.
Top 20 routes to/from/within the Middle East by seats (per week): 12-Sep-2011 vs 16-Jan-2012
|Dubai||Tehran Imam Khomeini||17||16||24,964||25,934|
In terms of passenger traffic, Dubai Airport leads the way, handling some 4.7 million passengers in Jul-2011. Of the key Gulf hubs, growth rates have been led by Doha for the early part of 2011, though Abu Dhabi has surged ahead in recent months, according to CAPA's Airport Traffic Comparison Tool.
Passenger traffic (mill) comparison for Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai airports: Sep-09 to Sep-11
Passenger traffic growth (% change y-o-y) comparison for Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai airports: Sep-09 to Sep-11