"Emirates Airline is to launch new direct flights to two major African cities splitting its existing Dubai – Addis Ababa – Entebbe to offer a new dedicated non-stop service to both markets. From March 25, 2012 the Middle East carrier will end its shared daily Airbus A340-500 link and launch A330-200 flights to both cities. This will result in a reduction of in-flight offering to both destinations as the A330s are not fitted with First Class Suites, but will significantly increase convenience to the travelling public.
“As demand for our Entebbe service continues to grow, customers can now enjoy the convenience of a non-stop air link with Dubai,” said Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa, Emirates Airline. “Our new direct service will offer seamless connections to key destinations in the Middle East, Indian Sub-continent, Asia and the Far East.”
There is currently no direct competition between Dubai and Entebbe, although Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines (THY) provide services to the Middle East and they will together fight for transfer passengers between the African country and destinations across Europe and Asia. An estimated 21,000 O&D passengers travelled between Dubai and Entebbe in the past year, with a further 80,000 thought to have connected on to other destinations in the Emirates network via Dubai International Airport; particularly from or to destinations in India.
The Addis Ababa – Dubai route is much more competitive with Ethiopian Airlines offering a twice daily flight, and Emirates’ affiliate carrier flydubai a three times weekly low-cost option. An estimated 227,000 O&D passengers travelled on this route in the past year with Emirates holding just an eight per cent share of this traffic."
Interesting, but not particularly surprising, development.