New European services to Dubai will help bring visitors to delayed EXPO 2020
With the delayed EXPO 2020 opening to the public on 1 October it is not surprising that the number of direct flights between Europe and Dubai has been growing quickly in recent weeks, with several airlines launching service to the UAE hub for the first time (airBaltic and LOT) and other carriers, notably flydubai, launching service to several new destinations. While Dubai still has various travel requirements in place, it is also keen to welcome as many people as possible to its showcase event. Unlike Abu Dhabi and Bahrain which host annual F1 races, and Qatar which will be hosting the FIFA World Cup in late 2022 (as well as F1 races in 2021 and 2023-2032), Dubai has not been so desperate to host such sporting events. However, the EXPO 2020 event has been heavily promoted globally and the six-month showpiece is expected to welcome over 100,000 visitors per day.
69 European airports with non-stop service to Dubai in October
According to Cirium Data and Analytics schedule information, almost 70 airports in Europe will be connected to Dubai with a non-stop service this month. That compares with 63 in October 2019. While some destinations have been suspended (notably UK routes to Edinburgh, London LGW and London STN) several airports have acquired Dubai service during the pandemic. These include Ankara (operated by flydubai and Pegasus Airlines), Ljubljana (flydubai), Minsk (Belavia and flydubai), Riga (airBaltic), Salzburg (flydubai) and Tirana (flydubai).
For the week commencing 4 October, Cirium Data and Analytics schedule information shows 489 weekly departures from airports in Europe to Dubai. This is 34% fewer than for the equivalent week in 2019. The top 15 countries for flights shows the UK to be well ahead of anyone else with 80 weekly departures. Turkey is second with 52 followed by Germany with 42. By late October the number of weekly flights looks set to increase to well over 500. A total of 33 European countries now have non-stop service to Dubai, three more than in 2019 with Albania, Belarus, Latvia, Luxembourg and Slovenia welcoming new scheduled connections while North Macedonia and Slovakia have currently lost their links. flydubai has not (yet) resumed service to either Skopje or Bratislava, though SmartWings plans to begin a weekly Bratislava service to Dubai later this month.