The Battle of 2012 And Who Will Win? Emirates, Qatar Airways, or Etihad?

In April of 2012, the battle for supremacy between the Middle East

and the North America turned up to a fever pitch. Emirates, Qatar

Airways, and Etihad Airways are battling each other to take as large

a share of this rich, sizable market. For awhile, it seemed that

Emirates had the upper hand, and my most measures, it does. However,

then comes Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, showing some cards of

his own. On a recent visit to Montreal, he is reported to have

announced four new USA gateways. If this happens, Qatar Airways will

have 8 North American gateways. So, let’s look how the competitors

are stacking up.

    Emirates: Toronto, New York (JFK), Washington Dulles, Houston,

San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Dallas-Ft. Worth
    Qatar Airways Montreal, New York (JFK), Washington Dulles,

Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, and Boston
    Etihad Airways: Toronto, New York (JFK), Washington Dulles, and


What is interesting here is that in this latest round of

announcements, Qatar Airways has been avoiding the already

established markets by Emirates. The most recent additions to the

Emirates network in the US were San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle,

and Dallas-Ft. Worth. Qatar Airways has obviously skipped these in

favour of Atlanta, Detroit, and Boston. Chicago, while already

served by Etihad Airways, is apparently large enough for two Middle

Eastern airlines. We personally believe Chicago can easily handle

two competitors to the same region. The key will be connecting

traffic that feeds the Chicago outbound. Whichever competitor can

grab the highest number of connecting customers will be the winner


Whilst we believe Emirates has the market lead with its 8 North

American gateways, we firmly believe that Qatar Airways is not far

behind. The key advantage to Emirates is the size and frequency of

its aircraft serving the markets. This advantage will remain in

place for quite some time, as Emirates continues receiving its

A380s. Etihad Airways, meanwhile, is present, but given its many

projects around the world with its recent equity stakes in airlines

based in the Seychelles, Ireland, and Germany, there is no question,

their focuses are elsewhere. With all the new competition coming in

this region, there is one sure winner… travelers.

What does all this mean for travelers flying long-haul between North

America and points East? Long-haul international travelers can

expect to find some juicy deals this year to and from the USA and

Canada. We expect this to further expand an already significant

travel market, and spurn further growth in Middle East aviation.

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  • About Author

    Thomas Neal

    Thomas Neal was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He was a bookseller before shifting to publishing where he worked at a literary development company, a creative writing website for millennials, and as a book reviewer of adult and young adult novels. He lives in New York City and is obviously a voracious reader. He has just released his debut novel and working on his second already!

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