In my opinion, China has been waging a trade inhibition by strict bilateral allocation. This reduced Chinese tourism and transit growth.
I fully admit I was far more enthusiastic about DWC 5 years ago. What changed:
1. Regulation of Chinese airlines ensure large domestic profits, which has enabled numerous routes I consider unlikely to make money.
2. Longer range smaller planes. I predicted fragmentation, but it has exceeded my expectations. I never would have predicted PER-LHR.
3. I missed IST and ADD being so competitive EU to Africa. With high O&D, IST has an advantage.
4. QR... Is competing irrationally. (There should be some due to the blockade. But even without it QR was trying to grow
It is a bummer the airport isn't closer to the Dubai/Abu-Dhabi border. It is too late to make a joint airport (required due to the Federation if Emirates resulting in fragmented bilateral rights). Too much money has been spent on DWC and AUH where there just isn't enough free cash or borrowing ability to really do anything.
Moving other airlines to DWC and keeping DXB to EK and FlyDubai is difficult. Most bilaterals require equal access. If Dubai wants to move out the other airlines go ahead, but those airline’s home countries will in turn require EK/FlyDubai’s flights to operate from DWC too.
Indeed, it seems if things don't change for the better DWC will become the "Mirabel of the Middle East", with little more than cargo ops keeping the joint opened.
Considering that EK is opperating perilously close to break even, they will have to shrink:https://www.emirates.com/english/about- ... rency.aspx
(Download PDF). 2.1% profit by the group, which I speculate is proped up by ground handling, is poor.
EK must subsidize Dubai. Without profits, there is no money to expand DWC.
I wonder if this is Mirabel 2.
1. Gain more O&D traffic. That is a slow process based on real economic growth.
2. Reduce unprofitable connections.
The reality is smaller but longer range planes will deprive EK of premium traffic.
I see Dubai air travel shrinking for a long time, not growing. The new IST will be tough to compete with. Yield on connecting passengers will drop. With such low profits (which I do not think are from the airlines), funding DWC isn't plausible.
Winter is coming.