Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia & more: new destinations and amended schedules to know

Twenty five Emirates flights a week between Dubai and Cairo, cheap flights from Sharjah to Kuala Lumpur, and more: the airline news you need to know this month

A woman picks marigold flowers used to make garlands and offer prayers, before selling them to the market for the Tihar festival, also called Diwali, in Kathmandu, Nepal October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Airlines launch new flight routes and make changes to services every month, but March has been a particularly busy one in the region with a host of new destinations, amended routes and upgraded services announced.

While details such as dates and aircraft can change, and the upcoming closure of a runway at Dubai International Airport could bring more announcements, here’s the regional route news to know this month...

London’s first direct flight to Dammam

British Airways will launch its first flight from London to Dammam, the industrial hub of Saudi Arabia. Tickets have already gone on sale for the service, which will depart from Terminal 5 at London Heathrow and land at Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport.

Set to operate on a four-class Boeing 777-200, the service will operate via Bahrain from December 1, 2019.

Emirates increases flights to both Cairo and London

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER photographed on August 17, 2015 from Wolfe Air Aviation's Lear 25B.
Emirates has increased flights from Dubai to Cairo. Courtesy Emirates

Starting from October 28, 2019, Emirates will add to its Dubai-Cairo schedule. The airline announced plans to add four additional flights per week to the service, which will take the total number of weekly Emirates flights to the Egyptian capital to 25.

Elsewhere, the Dubai airline also announced plans to add a second daily flight from Dubai to London Stansted. The additional route will begin operations on July 1 and means that passengers looking to fly to the UK capital with Emirates now have 11 daily flight options to and from Dubai and London’s three airports.

New summer holiday routes from Saudi Arabia 

The Old Town, Tblisi, Georgia
The Old Town, Tblisi, Georgia

Saudi Arabia’s national low-cost airline Flynas will fly to six new destinations this summer. From June 13, the airline will introduce direct flights from Riyadh to Tbilisi, Batumi, Vienna, Baku, Trabzon and Sarajevo.

The port city of Jeddah will be serviced with new direct routes to Vienna, Baku and Sarajevo, while new destinations from Dammam include Baku and Tblisi. Flynas will also introduce flights from Saudi's Qassim to Baku and Trazbon.

Air Arabia expands to Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers, as viewed from the newly refurbished, 33rd-floor SkyBar, anchor the city's skyline
Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers, as viewed from the newly refurbished, 33rd-floor SkyBar, anchor the city's skyline

Low-cost airline Air Arabia has announced direct flights between Sharjah and Kuala Lumpur, with the inaugural seven-hour journey set for July 1.

As the first low-cost carrier to fly between the Emirates and the capital of Malaysia, this is good news for budget travellers.

Summer specials at Etihad

Get set for summer with seasonal announcements from Etihad Airways. First up, a new route between Abu Dhabi and Alexandria in Egypt will run from July 2 to August 31. Similarly, summer flights from Abu Dhabi to Salalah in Oman will operate over the same period, ideal if you're looking for a weekend escape.

Throughout April, a popular month for holidaymakers heading to or from the UK, Etihad is increasing its flights from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow from three to four services per day to cope with seasonal demand.

Finally, the airline also announced a change of aircraft on both its Rome and Frankfurt routes, so if you're planning on travelling on either of those from July 1, you'll now be flying in a shiny new two-class Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner.

Summer from Kuwait

Kuwait Airways announced a variety of summer routes, good to know if you're planning  a seasonal escape. From June 1, it will launch flights to Istanbul which will run until September 10. Elsewhere, passengers can take advantage of three weekly flights to Vienna from June 2, two flights per week to Nice and Larnaca from June 3; thrice-weekly flights to Trazbon from June 1; and two flights per week to Malaga commencing June 3.

The Kuwaiti airline also announced plans to expand its London Heathrow offering, giving customers a choice of 12 flights per week, up from the existing 10, from April 1.

From Nepal to Abu Dhabi

From March 31, Himalaya Airlines will begin flying to Abu Dhabi from the Nepali capital of Kathmandu. The thrice-weekly flight will be serviced by an Airbus 320-214 and will be the latest addition to the airline’s existing destinations, which include Dubai, Dammam and Kuala Lumpur.

Just four hours from Abu Dhabi, it opens up another choice for travellers who fancy checking out the treasures to be found in the city nicknamed the Roof of the World.

More flights to Rwanda

The national airline of Rwanda is increasing its direct flights from Kigali to Dubai with a choice of seven weekly flights, up from the previous four. While that's good news for anyone wanting to visit the land of a thousand hills, it's not so good news for those planning a trip to Mombasa, as the new service comes at the expense of the existing Kigali via Mombasa to Dubai route. The changes will take place from mid-April.

EgyptAir has also announced new operations to Rwanda's capital with a twice-weekly service launching on April 27.

More flights from Egypt to all around the world

EgyptAir is expanding to Washington. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons 
EgyptAir is expanding to Washington. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons 

Staying with EgyptAir, the airline is set to expand operations to the US, with the announcement of a new service that will fly non-stop from Cairo to Washington. The inaugural flight is on June 3, and there will be three flights per week for anyone planning to head Stateside. Keep an eye on the website for promotional fares to the airline's newest destination.

Finally, EgyptAir is also set to take to the skies in Cameroon. with flights to Douala announced. But don't get ready to book your ticket quite yet  the new route is still pending approval from the Cameroonian aviation authorities.