The Middle East — A Perth Traveller’s Delight

With Perth Airport recently playing host to its 18th international airline, I take a look at why the Middle-East is a bustling transit hub for Perth travellers.

The Airlines

Firstly, the newest airline to join Perth Airport’s array of birds is Etihad Airways. The airline links the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi with Perth daily using Airbus A330–200 aircraft. They began services to the city in July 2014.

Technically by flight time, Doha is the furthest destination away from Perth. Qatar Airways joined Perth Airport as the 15th international airline back in July 2012. They service the city with Boeing 777–300 extended range aircraft.

Lastly, the infamous airline Emirates services Perth three times a day to Dubai and beyond with a mix of Boeing 777–200 long range and 777–300 extended range aircraft depending on passenger numbers. The airline began services to the city in August 2002.

Etihad Airways currently also service Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane (via Singapore), Qatar Airways currently also service Melbourne and Emirates services Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.

The Destinations

As mentioned in the title, these middle-eastern destinations are bustling hubs for Australian passengers as they easily connect onto flights in Europe, Africa and the Americas. A quick summary is below.

European Destinations
Etihad Airways : Yerevan, Minsk, Brussels, Larnaca, Paris, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Athens, Dublin, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, Moscow, Belgrade, Madrid, Geneva, Zurich, Istanbul, Edinburgh, London and Manchester. [22]

— Qatar Airways : Brussels, Liege, Sofia, Zagreb, Larnaca, Copenhagen, Nice, Paris, Tbilisi, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hahn, Munich, Athens, Budapest, Milan, Rome, Venice, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Oslo, Bucharest, Belgrade, Barcelona, Madrid, Stockholm, Geneva, Zurich, Tunis, Ankara, Istanbul, Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Moscow. [35]

— Emirates : Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Birmingham, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Glasgow, Hamburg, Istanbul, Kiev, Larnaca, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Madrid, Malta, Manchester, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Newcastle, Nice, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Rome, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Venice, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich. [37]

African Destinations
Etihad Airways : Algiers, Nairobi, Casablanca, Lagos, Mahe, Johannesburg and Entebbe. [7]

— Qatar Airways : Algiers, Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Asmara, Cairo, Cape Town, Casablanca, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Entebbe, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Maputo and Nairobi. [16]

— Emirates : Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Addis Ababa, Algiers, Cairo, Cape Town, Casablanca, Conakry, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Durban, Entebbe, Harare, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Lagos, Luanda, Lusaka, Mauritius, Nairobi, Seychelles, Tripoli and Tunis. [24]

American Destinations
— Etihad Airways : Sao Paulo, Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington. [8]

— Qatar Airways : Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Washington. [10]

— Emirates : Boston, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Toronto and Washington. [13]

Destinations in bold have all three airlines servicing them.

Realistically, all three of these carriers would have an overlap in terms of these destinations especially to well-known places like London and Paris, while exotic destinations like Kigali and Zagreb are a monopoly and offer a new array of places Perth travellers may wish to explore.

This overlap also comes down to a passenger’s choice of airline (#PaxEx) and connectivity.

A notable destination to come out of Etihad Airways’ launch to Perth was Dublin.

Diane Butler, Tourism Ireland’s Australia manager said,

“Perth via Abu Dhabi to Dublin was the missing link for us”
Irish Echo

James Hogan, the airline’s CEO added later,

Our analysis shows there is a significant business opportunity on the Ireland to Perth route, with visitor arrivals averaging an annual growth rate of more than 27 per cent over the past three years.
Etihad Airways’ first service to Perth. Image: Perth Airport

For editing purposes and the strain of having to collate all viable connections together, I have focused on the main destinations of London (Heathrow), Paris, Frankfurt and Rome in Europe, Algiers, Nairobi and Johannesburg in Africa and New York, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo in America.

— London (Heathrow) —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 1 hour 30 minute window outbound and a 2 hour 5 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 19 hours and 30 minutes both ways.

Etihad Airways’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 5 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 45 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 22 hours and 40 minutes outbound and 20 hours and 25 minutes inbound.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 1 hour 30 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 20 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 20 hours and 25 minutes outbound and 18 hours 40 minutes inbound.

— Paris —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 2 hour window outbound and a 1 hour 50 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 20 hours outbound and 19 hours 5 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 5 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 4o minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 22 hours 15 minutes outbound and 20 hours inbound.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour window outbound and 2 hour 35 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 21 hours 30 minutes outbound and 19 hours 45 minutes inbound.

— Frankfurt —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 1 hour 40 minute window outbound and a 2 hour 30 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 19 hours 15 minutes outbound and 19 hours 25 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways’ shortest connection offers a 2 hour 35 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 40 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 21 hours 30 minutes outbound and 19 hours 45 minutes inbound.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 2 hour 35 minute window both ways. The total trip therefore is 2o hours 50 minutes outbound and 19 hours 20 minutes inbound.

— Rome —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 2 hour 55 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 50 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 19 hours 55 minutes outbound and 18 hours 20 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 10 minute window outbound and a 2 hour 30 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 21 hours 30 minutes outbound and 19 hours 50 minutes inbound.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 15 minute window outbound and an 8 hour 5 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 21 hours 15 minutes outbound and 24 hours 20 minutes inbound.

— Algiers —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 20 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 30 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 22 hours outbound and 18 hours 50 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways does not currently have any viable connections to Algiers from Perth at present.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 25 minute window outbound and 2 hour 45 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 21 hours 55 minutes outbound and 19 hours 15 minutes inbound.

— Nairobi —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 10 minute window outbound and a 4 hour 15 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 19 hours 5 minutes outbound and 19 hours 55 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways does not currently have any viable connections to Nairobi from Perth at present.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 2 hour 30 minute window both ways. The total trip therefore is 18 hours 55 minutes outbound and 18 hours 15 minutes inbound.

— Johannesburg —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 1 hour 40 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 50 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 20 hours 45 minutes outbound and 20 hours 25 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways’ shortest connection offers a 2 hour 30 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 45 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 22 hours 45 minutes outbound and 21 hours 45 minutes inbound.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 1 hour 35 minute window outbound and a 2 hour 40 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 21 hours 20 minutes outbound and 21 hours 15 minutes inbound.


Alternatively, you can catch a direct flight from Perth to Johannesburg with South African Airways, which operates daily. The flight time is around 10 hours.

— New York —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 1 hour 50 minute window outbound and a 2 hour space inbound. The total trip therefore is 26 hours 15 minutes outbound and 25 hours 25 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 25 minute window outbound and a 2 hour 35 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 29 hours 45 minutes outbound and 26 hours 40 minutes inbound.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour window outbound and an 8 hour 30 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 28 hours 35 minutes outbound and 31 hours 25 minutes inbound.

— Los Angeles —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 3 hour 35 minute window outbound and a 2 hour 10 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 27 hours 45 minutes outbound and 28 hours 45 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways does not currently have any viable connections to Los Angeles from Perth at present.

Qatar Airways does not currently have any viable connections to Los Angeles from Perth at present.

— Sao Paulo —
Emirates’ shortest connection offers a 7 hour 35 minute window outbound and a 11 hour 15 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 33 hours 15 minutes outbound and 36 hours 20 minutes inbound.

Etihad Airways’ shortest connection offers a 9 hour 15 minute window outbound and a 1 hour 55 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 36 hours 10 minutes outbound and 28 hours inbound.

Qatar Airways’ shortest connection offers a 2 hour 10 minute window outbound and a 3 hour 45 minute space inbound. The total trip therefore is 28 hours 10 minutes both ways.

Wow, that’s a long summary. See why I did not want to do all destinations!

The Statistics

According to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), the Dubai — Perth route, which Emirates operates carried 517,030 passengers in the year ended June 2014, which is an 1.2% increase from the year before.

The Doha — Perth route, which Qatar Airways operates carried 160,141 passengers in the year ended June 2014, up 1.5% from 107,868 the year before.

For obvious reasons, Etihad Airways’ data is unavailable since this the airline began servicing the Abu Dhabi — Perth route in July 2014.

The Dubai — Perth route has been around for the longest and thus Emirates has the largest market share of the three airlines. The three daily services the airline currently offers makes the route the 4th busiest in terms of passenger numbers out of the city, behind Kuala Lumpur, Denpasar and Singapore.

The Doha — Perth route is still breaking ground as the airline enters its 3rd year at Perth Airport. A consistent growth is expected in the next couple of years particularly as Qatar is home to oil deposits, and Western Australia is the “mining capital” of Western Australia as quoted by Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker.

At the Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation Australia Pacific Summit held in August, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, Peter Baumgartner made it publicly clear that,

We are an ambitious company and it’s not that easy to exceed sales expectations but I have to say Perth ramped up even beyond my expectations

To put things into perspectives, the Dubai — Perth route makes up 12.7% of the total departures out of Perth Airport internationally while the Doha — Perth route makes up 3.9% of the total.

In terms of Australia, Emirates offers the most direct seats out of Perth than other destinations like Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Qatar Airways offer an equal number of seats on both its Perth and Melbourne routes.

The #PaxEx factor

But, in the end, this all comes down to passenger choice and their experience. Let’s take a look at what each airline offers in a summarised form to the destinations listed above.

— Emirates —
| Aircraft: 266-seater Boeing 777–200LR, 364/358/354-seater Boeing 777–300ER, 517-seater Airbus A380–800, 258-seater Airbus A340–500.
| Airport: Dubai International Airport (OMDB/DXB).
| Lounges (Emirates-operated): Perth, Birmingham, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Rome, San Francisco and Zurich.

— Etihad Airways —
| Aircraft: 262-seater Airbus A330–200, 240-seater Airbus A340–500, 496-seater Airbus A380–800, 380/412-seater Boeing 777–300ER.
| Airport: Abu Dhabi International Airport (/AUH).
| Lounges (Etihad Airways-operated): Abu Dhabi, Dublin, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Manchester, Paris, Washington. For Perth business class passengers, you can access the Qantas lounge in the International Terminal.

— Qatar Airways —
| Aircraft: 335/380-seater Boeing 777–300ER, 254-seater Boeing 787–8, 517-seater Airbus A380–800, 283-seater Airbus A350–900.
| Airport: Doha Hamad International Airport (/DOH).
| Lounges (Qatar Airways-operated): Doha, London Heathrow. For Perth business class passengers, you can again access the Qantas lounge in the International Terminal.

One of the unique offerings out of the three big gulf airlines is Etihad Airways ‘The Residence’ which is onboard their Airbus A380–800 aircraft. The three suite ‘room’ offers a living room, bathroom and bedroom along with a dedicated chef and butler. It entry into the premium market will set you back in excess of $50,000.

Let’s have a look at Perth’s own international airport first. In the international terminal, you’ll find JR Duty Free, six restaurants and cafes, seven shopping outlets and seven services related to baggage, money and communication.

As of May 2014, a free wi-fi service is provided through iiNet. An observation deck is also located on the top level but accessible only before Customs and Immigration areas.

If you need to catch a connecting Qantas or Virgin Australia domestic flight, a free terminal transfer bus operates every 20 minutes during peak periods between the International Terminal and T3/T4.

Come the middle of this year though, passengers travelling to and from a Virgin Australia-operated flight will seamlessly be able to transfer to a dedicated pier currently being constructed and nearing completion attached to the western side of the current International Terminal.

Nearly there!

RELATED: Perth Airport — too early, or too late?

This is particularly beneficial to Etihad Airways passengers since an interline agreement recently began.

Another partnership in fruition is between Qantas and Emirates. Qantas sole international flight from Perth is a seasonal service to Auckland.

Qantas and Emirates — the two dominating airlines of Australia.

Qatar Airways is the odd one out, but is not left out of the boat. It is the only one of these three middle-eastern carriers to be part of an airline alliance, more specifically the Oneworld alliance. Qatar Airways’ passengers too, can connect somewhat easily onto Qantas’ own services, of which it is also apart of the group.

Next, Dubai’s International Airport is simply a masterpiece. Actually, all three are far outreaching in terms of the #PaxEx factor in comparison with the small Perth Airport.

A swimming pool, hotel, Zen garden and snoozecubes are just some of the things offered at the airport.

In the capital of the United Arab Emirates, you’ll find Abu Dhabi International Airport offers these sleeping pods too! Besides that, the usual amenities you would expect to find in a modern, bustling airport are here.

A five-star airline needs a five-star airport. Qatar Airways now services out of Doha’s new airport, Hamad International. A unique offering is Al Maha service officers who act as a one-on-one guide for those willing to pay a fee and book.

Skytrax research determines Qatar Airways as one of seven 5-star airlines, Etihad and Emirates both receiving 4-star.

Now, you decide.

The Future

According to analysis conducted by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, growth in the middle-east sector will begin to slow particularly as bilateral agreements limit these carriers in terms of how many frequencies they can operate into Australia. For a start, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways both reached their respective caps once they had launched Perth services.

For the short-term though, expect the Abu Dhabi — Perth route to reach maturity and witness the Doha — Perth route continue to grow.

In terms of the #PaxEx factor, Qatar Airways has promised the ultra-long haul route of Perth will be serviced by the airline’s newest aircraft, the Airbus A350 XWB.

Overflying Emirates A380s are soon to become boring in Perth come May.

Emirates has committed to further increasing capacity on the route as it too reaches its cap and the viability of capacity over frequency becomes more evident. The airline has confirmed finally, that its flagship super-jumbo, the Airbus A380 will begin servicing the city in May of this year.

Etihad Airways too has committed to the passenger experience as it plans its Boeing 787–9 onto the service from 2016 once the market becomes stable.

RELATED: The future of travel hits Perth

Let’s see what plays out over the next few years.

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