Etihad plans to expand operaitons in India
According to a report in The Financial Express, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways plans to expand operations in India by starting new flights and increasing frequencies of existing ones, the airline’s India head Salil Nath said.
The airline’s expansion plan comes on the back of its unutilised weekly seat allocation to and from India under the bilateral air service agreement.
The airline still has 10,000 unutilised seats per week, as it only operates 40,000 of the 50,000 allocated seats.“Etihad still has seats available and we are planning for future expansion via new flights to gateway destinations in India or additional frequencies on our present network,” said Nath.
At present, Etihad and Abu Dhabi Air Arabia joint venture operates 165 weekly flights to 10 gateways across India.
Through the joint venture, the airline operates flights to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai,Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.
According to Nath, the airline’s network in India has increased by 54% in 2023. “Compared with 2022,our network connectivity has increased from 77 weekly flights to 118 and 165 for the Etihad and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi IV.” Recently, it resumed services to Kolkata and enhanced its network with increased services to Ahmedabad, Chennai and Cochin.
“We have added additional daily services to Delhi (three daily) and Mumbai (three daily) and also enhancing our global connectivity with increased flights to the US,” Nath said.
He credited this growth to the high demand for the outbound travel market in India. “The demand is strong and our operations are growing significantly. There is a growing appetite among Indian travellers beyond metros to spend on luxury experiences and explore new cultures.”