Doha becomes busiest airport in Middle East

In the battle to be the pre-eminent journey hub within the Middle East, the newest analysis from ForwardKeys has revealed that Doha seized and consolidated a lead over Dubai within the first half of 2021.

In the interval January 1st-June thirtieth, the amount of air tickets issued for journey through Doha was 18 per cent increased than it was via Dubai; and that relationship seems to be set to proceed.

Current bookings for the second half of the yr via Doha are 17 per cent increased than via Dubai.

At the beginning of the yr, air visitors via Doha was at 77 per cent of Dubai; but it surely rapidly reached 100 per cent for the primary time throughout the week commencing January twenty seventh.

The main issue driving the pattern was the lifting, in January, of the blockade of flights to and from Qatar, which was imposed in June 2017 by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism – an accusation strongly denied by Qatar.

As quickly because it was imposed, the blockade had an instantaneous destructive influence on flights to and from Doha.

For instance, Qatar Airways was compelled to drop 18 locations from its community.

In addition, numerous flights via Doha suffered prolonged journey instances, as planes needed to make detours to keep away from the blockading counties’ air house.

The vacation spot and its main provider, Qatar Airways, didn’t reply to the blockade by chopping again; as a substitute, it opened 24 new routes to utilise what would in any other case have been idle plane.

Since January, 5 routes, Cairo, Dammam, Dubai, Jeddah and Riyadh, to/from Doha have been reopened and visitors on different routes has grown.

The reinstated routes which have made probably the most substantial relative contribution to customer arrivals are: Dammam to Doha, reaching 30 per cent of pre-blockade arrivals within the first half of 2017, and Dubai to Doha, 21 per cent.

In addition, new connections with Seattle, San Francisco, and Abidjan, have been established in December 2020, January and June respectively.

Olivier Ponti, vice chairman, insights, ForwardKeys, commented: “Without the blockade, which inspired the institution of recent routes as a technique to switch misplaced visitors, maybe we’d not have seen Doha charging previous Dubai.

“So, it appears that evidently the seeds of Doha’s relative success have been, sarcastically, sown by the adversarial actions of its neighbours.

“However, one wants to remember that flights via the Middle East throughout first half of 2021 have been nonetheless 81 per cent under pre-pandemic ranges.

“So, as the recovery gathers pace, the picture could change significantly.”

The final main issue, which has given Qatar an edge over Dubai, has been its response to the pandemic.

During the peak of the Covid-19 disaster, many routes out and in of Doha remained operational, with the outcome that Doha grew to become a serious hub for repatriation flights – most notably to Johannesburg and Montreal.

Commenting on the information, Badr Al Meer, chief working officer at Hamad International Airport, stated: “We are proud that Hamad International Airport – the perfect airport within the Middle East – has turn out to be an more and more widespread vacation spot and hub for passengers from throughout the globe.

“We believe this is a result of the hard work our team has continued to demonstrate throughout the pandemic and the Covid-19 policies and protocols the airport has implemented which have maintained our operational excellence while keeping staff and customers safe.”

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