Boston is so hot right now.
Between being one of the first cities to receive commercial service on the 787 via Japan Airlines to Tokyo, and expecting to expand its footprint in Eur-Asia with the advent of Turkish Airlines starting service to Istanbul in May 2012, Boston Logan Int’l airport can look forward to yet another major intercontinental service slated to start next spring, as Emirates Airline announced it will begin nonstop service to Boston from Dubai utilizing a Boeing 777-200LR starting March 10, 2014.
Schedule for the new flight is as follows:
EK 237 Dep DXB 0945 Arr BOS 1515
EK 238 Dep BOS 2255 Arr DXB 1910+1
The Gulf Coast Carriers, as well as Turkish Airlines, have been leveraging their geographically-advantaged hubs in the Middle East to expand their footprints in the Americas.
Within the past five years, Emirates has expanded into San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Washington Dulles, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Qatar Airways has expanded into Houston, Chicago, Montreal, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, with plans to launch Philadelphia in the near future. Turkish Airlines has added Houston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Washington Dulles and Sao Paulo, and Etihad has added Sao Paulo and Washington Dulles.
Gulf Coast Carriers’ + Turkish Airlines Americas network (current and scheduled)
Growth in the US-Middle East market highly skewed towards Gulf Carriers and Turkish Airlines
The rapid growth of these carriers has been fueled by connecting international to international transit traffic over their hubs.
The US-Middle East transatlantic market is a funny one: in recent years, the growth appears to be coming predominantly from the Gulf side rather than the US side. Delta and United have had mixed success in the Middle East, attempting to capitalize on military, tourism and energy traffic to markets such as Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Delta has culled its services to Amman, Jordan and Kuwait City, Kuwait, blaming volatile oil prices, global recession, high operating costs and political unrest in the region. It has only retained its nonstop Atlanta to Dubai flight as its sole link to the Middle East.
United entered and exited the Newark to Istanbul market within a year. However, thanks to government and military contractor traffic, it as been able to retain its nonstop links from Washington Dulles to Bahrain (via Kuwait) and Doha (via Dubai) for a few years, but as of last week, UA has decreased services from daily to 4 weekly, due to the drawdown of US troops in the Middle East.
A few foreign flag carriers such as Kuwait Airlines, Royal Jordanian and Saudia Airlines have been serving the US for a long period of time. However, these State-owned carriers have not exploited growth opportunities in the US, and have more or less maintained the same level of capacity for decades.
Kuwait Airways flies from New York JFK to Kuwait City, via London Heathrow. Royal Jordanian flies to Detroit, via Montreal, Chicago O’Hare and New York JFK. Saudia Airlines flies from Washington Dulles and New York JFK to its hubs in Riyadh and Jeddah. All of the above services are operated on a less-than-daily service at present, indicating that they prefer not to match capacity and frequency levels set by their rival carriers in the Gulf.
Saudia is the one exception, however, having announced recent frequency upgauges to its existing NYC and WAS services along with plans to serve Los Angeles and Toronto in 2014.
Saudia and Royal Jordanian have also been open to participating in global alliances, with Saudia joining SkyTeam in 2012 and Royal Jordanian being a longtime member of OneWorld.
ANNA Aero, a website dedicated to airline network news and analysis, reported earlier in January that Boston was “rumored” to be the next big new US destination on Emirates’ list. Following closely behind are Miami and Chicago O’Hare.
The interesting thing about Miami is that none of the Gulf Coast Carriers, nor Turkish, currently serve the market. Both Miami and Chicago are fairly saturated markets as-is with a plethora of European carriers. Chicago has four Middle Eastern/Eurasian carriers serving O’Hare via Jordanian, Etihad, Qatar and Turkish. Moreover, Chicago has a nonstop link to the region on Air India, and visiting friends-and-relatives (VFR) and tourism traffic represents a large contingency of US-India passenger volume.
With Boston covered, Emirates will likely turn its attention on the midwest or south next in order to cover more underserved geographic region within the United States. A year has passed since speculations began surrounding a potential tie-up between Emirates and American Airlines, but should those talks resume, then indeed the likelihood of a Chicago or Miami launch, if not both, is very probable.