Etihad announces major India expansion

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By Staff  www.zawya.com

Dubai: Etihad Airways is significantly boosting its presence into the Indian market with the addition of new flights following the approval by Indian regulators for Etihad to take a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways.

Flights to Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad will increase from seven flights per week to 14. The expansion will be progressive over the next year with new flights to Mumbai and New Delhi starting immediately, while the last of the announced expansion, Hyderabad, will commence in October 2014.

The announcement sees Etihad increasing its presence into the Indian market by 42 flights over the next 10 months with prospects for further expansions.

“Subject to receiving regulatory approvals, we will continue to expand our Abu Dhabi-India operations and work with our growing stable of partners to accommodate strong growth and deliver much greater choice for travel to and from India,” James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways , stated.

Along with additional frequencies, Etihad will also introduce larger aircraft on selected flights. Evening flights to Mumbai and New Delhi have been increased from a narrow body A320 to a wide-body A340 and A330. On the Mumbai services, First Class service will be introduced on the evening A340 flights.

New Airbus A321 aircraft, seating 174 passengers, will be used on all Abu Dhabi-Chennai services, and between Abu Dhabi and Kochi from June 2014.

Etihad also announced that subject to regulatory approval it will codeshare on flights with Jet Airways between India, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.

“India is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing air travel markets, and will play an increasingly important role in our growth,” Hogan stated.

According to Etihad , both airlines are currently exploring synergies ranging from integration of their loyalty programmes to shared airport facilities and offices, common training of pilots and flight attendants and deployment of joint sales forces in markets served by both carriers.

Along with Jet Airways, Etihad has taken equity stakes in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, and Aer Lingus. It is awaiting regulatory approval to acquire an equity stake in European regional carrier Darwin Airline and next month Etihad is expected to finalise details for its equity stake in Air Serbia. More info

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