Emirates Confirms Kabul Arrival

United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier Emirates Airline has confirmed it will inaugurate flights between its Dubai International Airport hub and Afghanistan with a new daily link to Khwaja Rawash Airport in the capital, Kabul, from December 4, 2013.  The route will be operated by an Airbus A340-500 configured in a three-class cabin configuration, offering 12 First Class, 42 Business Class and 204 Economy Class seats.

The daily flight to Afghanistan’s capital city will be the first destination in the country which Emirates has served but the carrier’s sister venture, low-cost operator, flydubai has been serving the market since May 2010.  It is thought that information secured through the low-cost carrier’s operations these past 40 months has provided the knowledge for Emirates to confirm this network growth, which The HUB first suggested was on the cards back in July this year.

“Emirates has identified a demand for a premium service airline offering between Dubai and Kabul. ¬†With this new route Emirates will be able to offer passengers travelling to and from the city excellent global connections via Dubai. ¬†This includes operating the only First Class cabin between Dubai and Kabul.”

Barry Brown
Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations East, Emirates Airline

“Emirates has identified a demand for a premium service airline offering between Dubai and Kabul.  With this new route Emirates will be able to offer passengers travelling to and from the city excellent global connections via Dubai.  This includes operating the only First Class cabin between Dubai and Kabul”, said Barry Brown, divisional senior vice president, commercial operations east, Emirates Airline

The airline expects the flight to be particularly popular with corporate business travellers, as well as Afghan nationals returning home to visit friends and family. It will also present a new opportunity for cargo operations to the country, particularly for the shipment of pharmaceuticals, perishable foodstuffs and construction materials.

Kabul will be the 138th destination on the Emirates route network, following shortly after the commencement of services to Clark, Philippines on October 1, 2013, Conakry, Guinea from October 27, 2013 and Sialkot, Pakistan from November 5, 2013.

According to schedule data, alongside flydubai, five other air carriers currently operate flights between Dubai and Kabul offering over 40,000 seats per month between the two destinations.  These include Afghanistan-based carriers Afghan Airlines, Ariana Afghan Airlines, Kam Air and Safi Airways and UAE operator Eastern SkyJets. 

In 2012 an estimated 505,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Kabul and Dubai, up 11.0 per cent on the previous year.  This continued a rapid growth in traffic on the route which has seen numbers increase six fold between 2005 and 2012.  In the analysis below we highlight the rising O&D demand between the two cities, a market that offers considerable additional opportunities for Emirates when you consider onward demand from Dubai.  For example in 2012 more than 240,000 passengers flew between Kabul and destinations across Europe.

SCHEDULED PASSENGER DEMAND BETWEEN KABUL AND DUBAI (bi-directional O&D passengers)

Year

Estimated O&D Demand

% Change

2012

504,535

11.0 %

2011

454,492

35.0 %

2010

336,772

7.1 %

2009

314,311

50.7 %

2008

208,563

6.7 %

2007

195,505

67.3 %

2006

116,845

41.6 %

2005

82,541

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