Shifting Sands – an update on latest developments across the Middle East

The Middle East market has been a story of growth for so many recent years as the development strategies from the likes of Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways has firmly placed the Gulf region on global route maps. But things have got more challenging. Political interference has become a norm, airline strategies have been called to attention and flights have actually been banned between some neighbouring nations across the region.

Our regular round-up delivers some of the latest key aviation and travel news stories from across the Middle East region.

Amedeo Air Four Plus reports ‘positive’ value outlook for Emirates’ A380 fleet

Amedeo Air Four Plus reported the residual value of the A380 fleet increased by approximately 0.8% (in aggregate) for the year to 28-Jun-2019. Amedeo reported this increase underscores its belief that Airbus’ A380 programme termination announcement “will have positive implications for the future values of the installed A380 fleet, particularly those aircraft operated by Emirates”. Emirates’ A380 fleet is expected to comprise more than 100 units, which Amedeo expects will continue to be operated by Emirates for the entirety of their useful economic lives. The A380 is to remain an essential aircraft type for Emirates, with higher financial profitability deriving from the longer term use of its A380 fleet.

Kuwait Airways selects Collins Aerospace Super Diamond business class seats for A330-800 fleet

Kuwait Airways selected Collins Aerospace to install Super Diamond business class seats in eight of the carrier’s A330-800 aircraft. The Super Diamond business class seats feature all aisle access, a 78 inch fully flat seat, living space with increased stowage and gate to gate inflight entertainment solutions. Kuwait Airways’ A330-800 aircraft are scheduled to enter service in 2020.

Ryanair enters Lebanon with new Paphos-Beirut service

Ryanair announced plans to launch three times weekly Paphos-Beirut service, effective 19-Oct-2019. The seasonal service will operate until Mar-2020 and Beirut will be the carrier’s first destination in Lebanon. According to OAG, Ryanair will be the sole carrier on the route.

National Bank of Kuwait to launch drone based banking services

National Bank of Kuwait announced it invested in the drone technology and drone based services following the granting of necessary approvals. The bank is currently involved in the testing of drones for quality, efficiency and security. Once the testing phase is completed successfully, the drones will serve as a mean of transportation between the bank’s branches, and its use will be further expanded in the future.

Gulf Air signs agreement with Emarsys to enhance communication with customers

Gulf Air partnered with Emarsys to enhance its automated communication with customers through email and digital media platforms. The carrier will be connected to passengers before and after their flight experience with value added and personalised communication. Gulf Air will also have access to hyper targeted promotions, data driven newsletters, personalised content for Falconflyer members and customer behaviour tracking.

Dubai Airports plans next phase of ‘realtimeDXB’ system

Dubai Airports announced it has commenced works on the next phase of the ‘realtimeDXB’ system. The phase will focus on passenger and baggage flows within Dubai International airport terminals. As previously reported, ‘realtimeDXB’ is a cloud based platform that gathers data generated by more than 50 operational systems in real time and visualises traffic flows to support consistently smooth operations.

News Briefs

  • Emirates Airline announced passengers who purchase an Emirates ticket and travel from now until 30-Sep-2019 will receive summer hotel rates in any of the properties within Accor, Armani Hotel Dubai, Emaar Hospitality Group and Marriott during their stay in the UAE.
  • EgyptAir has confirmed that its group chairman and CEO Ahmed Adel has been appointed to the IATA chair committee for a term of three years.
  • Swisslog forecasts the Middle East logistics market will reach a total market value of USD66.3 billion by 2020.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: Middle East Domestic Seats (as at 15-Jul-2019)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG (NOTE: *These values are at least partly predictive up to 6 months ahead and may be subject to change)

Fleet Development

  • Saudia has been revealed as the customer for a previously undisclosed order of 35 A321neos. The aircraft were converted from the A320neo variant following a new order of 30 A320neos, which was announced in Jun-2019.
  • Qatar Airways has signed a USD1 billion order for 18 Gulfstream G650ER and four G500 aircraft. The aircraft will be added to Qatar Executive’s existing fleet of six G650ER and four G500 aircraft.
  • Etihad Airways received one Boeing 787-9 aircraft (MSN 39669), as recorded by the CAPA Fleet Database.
  • Oman Air has deployed Boeing 787 equipment on five of seven weekly Muscat-Istanbul frequencies, operating between 01-Jul-2019 and 31-Aug-2019.
  • Kuwait Airways chairman Youssef Al-Jassim stated the carrier is set to receive five or six A320 aircraft in Aug-2019. He stated the carrier will own 28 A320 aircraft by 2020.

CAPACITY SNAPSHOT: Middle East International Seats (as at 15-Jul-2019)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG (NOTE: *These values are at least partly predictive up to 6 months ahead and may be subject to change)

Route Update

  • Mahan Air confirmed it launched twice weekly Tehran Imam Khomeini-Shenzhen service, effective 30-Jun-2019. Mahan Air now serves four destinations in China.
  • Azur Air plans to operate a Krasnoyarsk-Dubai charter service from 23-Oct-2019 with single class Boeing 757-200 aircraft, on behalf of Anex Tour. The service is scheduled to operate every 10 days.
  • Pouya Air has launched a Tehran-Lamerd service in Iran.
  • Pobeda plans to launch three times weekly Moscow-Eilat and four times weekly Moscow-Dubai services from Oct-2019.