United Arab Emirates (UAE) low-cost carrier flydubai will introduce new direct links from the country to Aden in Yemen and Kandahar in Afghanistan as it further expands its network. The two new destinations are in countries where the airline already has a presence and both will be served using its two-class Boeing 737-800s that are fitted with a special Business Class cabin that was introduced to meet growing premium demand in some smaller markets from the UAE.
flydubai will offer a twice weekly service between Dubai and Kandahar from July 25, 2014 and a three times weekly offering between Dubai and Aden from August 1, 2014. The three rotations to Aden will operate in connection with Djibouti’s Ambouli International Airport, increasing from five to six weekly flights between the African nation and Dubai. The carrier also has traffic rights on the Aden - Djibouti sector
“We are pleased to announce the launch of flights to Aden and Kandahar,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer, flydubai. “These additions to our network will create greater opportunity for travel and trade between these two countries and the United Arab Emirates.”
flydubai first introduced flights to Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, in April 2012 and last year accounted for 21.5 per cent of the total O&D demand between the two countries. Aden is the commercial capital of Yemen and its deep and naturally protected seaport remains a key driver of the country’s economy. Due to its strategic geographic location, Aden Free Zone has established itself as a regional logistics and manufacturing hub which has helped strengthen economic and social development in the seaport city.
Although flydubai will be the first UAE operator to serve Aden, Nasair Eritrea and Yemenia currently offer flights between the city and Dubai. Yemenia has been serving the market continuously over the past ten years while Nasair Eritrea introduced flights in April 2013. According to MIDT data, an estimated 42,000 O&D passengers flew between the UAE and Aden in 2013. Around 27,000 of these passengers travelled from or to Dubai.
Flydubai entered the Afghanistan market in May 2010 when it inaugurated flights between Dubai and the capital city Kabul. It will operate alongside Ariana Afghan Airlines and Eastern Skyjets on the new route to the southern city of Kandahar. The city, which has an estimated population of 500,000, is a major trading centre for sheep, wool, cotton, silk, felt, grains and fresh and dried fruit. An estimated 41,000 O&D passengers flew between Dubai and Kandahar in 2013, up from just 18,000 the year earlier.
In our analysis below we look at the growth in O&D demand between Dubai and Aden and Kandahar, which demonstrates the data behind flydubai’s decision to introduce these two new routes and the reasoning by the timing of the route launches.