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EgyptAir’s New Dhaka Boeing 787 Service Is Bangladesh’s Only Non-Stop African Flight

On May 14th, EgyptAir left its Cairo hub bound for Dhaka. Bangladesh’s enormously populous capital again became connected non-stop to Africa on a regular basis after Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways ended Tripoli service in 2010. EgyptAir’s launch came six days after Ethiopian Airlines started Karachi, Pakistan, the city gaining its first African link in years.

EgyptAir to Dhaka: a summary

Operating on Wednesdays and Sundays, EgyptAir deploys 309-seat Boeing 787-9s to Dhaka, 3,626 miles (5,835 km) away. These have 279 seats in economy and 30 in business. It is scheduled as follows, with all times local:

  • Cairo to Dhaka: MS970, 08:45-19:00 (7h 15m block time)
  • Dhaka to Cairo: MS971, 20:30-01:15+1 (7h 45m)

Click here for Dhaka-Cairo flights.

Image: Flightradar24 .

Dhaka’s largest African market

In pre-pandemic 2019, booking data suggests that Cairo was Dhaka’s largest point-to-point (P2P) Africa market, although Johannesburg and Mauritius were not far behind.

Cairo had around 19,000 roundtrip P2P passengers. That is not much for a brand-new, long-haul widebody service, even at twice-weekly.

The non-stop will hopefully meaningfully stimulate traffic, especially at that low base, but will the primary targeted passengers be willing to pay a premium for a non-stop versus the myriad of one-stops?

Just five main connecting markets

The Star Alliance member will, of course, also target transfer passengers over the Egyptian capital. However, despite EgyptAir’s growing African network (20+ destinations) and operation in the near Middle East, its new Dhaka service does not revolve around these places.

Using the OAG Connections Analyzer tool indicates very few two-way transit markets. This is based on having a maximum five-hour wait (quite a long time) and flying no more than 50% further than what a non-stop would be.

Image: GCMap.

Aside from some very tiny Egyptian markets, only Jeddah, Medina, JFK, Newark, and Toronto are linked to/from Bangladesh, all with a fairly speedy connection. Yes, booking data shows they had over one million Dhaka passengers in 2019, but there are many alternative airlines, most with higher frequencies and shorter trip times.

Having so few onward transit markets seems concerning, especially as EgyptAir’s well-established JFK and Toronto services are seemingly already packed during the peak season, primarily with higher-yielding P2P traffic.

Photo: Vytautas Kielaitis I Shutterstock.

Indeed, due to this ‘spillage’, EgyptAir launches a three-weekly Cairo-Newark service on June 3rd at almost identical times to JFK. They probably do not need more lower-yielding transit passengers.

Afriqiyah Airways to Dhaka

Nearly 14 years ago, in October 2009, Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways launched Tripoli-Dhaka using the A330-200. It appears to have been the first African carrier with passenger service to Bangladesh, with EgyptAir now taking up the role.

Source : Simple Flying