Have a 'save' flight: Gulf airlines among most affordable globally

Asian airlines dominat top positions with AirAsia X at No.1

United Arab Emirates, May 28, 2018

Led by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, GCC carriers are among the world's most economical among the top 200 airlines for international routes.

According to Global Flight Pricing Report released by Melbourne-based travel planning site Rome2rio, Etihad is the 6th-cheapest airline followed by Oman Air at 11th, Kuwait Airways at 17th, Gulf Air Bahrain at 23rd and Emirates at 25th among Gulf carriers.

All these Gulf carriers were more economical than Pakistan International Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, Swiss and American Airlines among others.

The data analyses economy-class airfares displayed by Rome2rio over a 2-month period of January and February 2018, totalling some 1.5 million price points.

Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said often reports only look at a fraction of an airlines route network to determine pricing. 'Emirates has some of the most competitive fares, particularly on routes to Europe and report likely ignores the fact that Emirates has a far superior cabin product in contrast to its rivals that it can afford, in some markets, to be priced higher and sell seats at those higher yields,' Ahmad said. He emphasised that these assertions are not 'matter of fact' and only examine partial route pairings and pricing on them.

'Passengers who fly on both Emirates and Etihad are astute enough to know that when they buy their tickets with them, regardless of cabin class, that they will get an unmatchable service, on board quality and fly the newest airplanes like 787s, 777-300ERs and A380s,' Ahmad said.

Globally, Asian airlines dominated the top positions with AirAsia X topping the list of cheapest airlines, followed by Air India Express, Indonesia AirAsia, Primera Air and Indigo Airlines, Etihad Airways, Ryanair, Qantas, Wow Air and Virgin Australia.

'Since our 2016 report, we have seen some significant shifts in pricing and ranking. Airlines who have ventured into the budget scene - such as British Airways, as well as those such as Norwegian who have a reputation as Budget Stars - need to pass on higher fuel and operational costs to the customer,' said Kirsteene Phelan, chief operating officer at Rome2rio.

'Sadly, the romance of air travel, whilst not dead, is certainly waning, with more airlines tipped to scale back their inflight offerings in favour of pay-to-play service to help boost profits. We anticipate those seeking to enjoy their journey will look for other options including rail to boost their travel experience,' Phelan added.