ABU DHABI- According to Etihad Airways (EY) India head, Salil Nath, the airline has exciting plans to broaden its operations in India. These plans involve launching new flights and increasing the frequencies of existing ones.
This move comes as the airline aims to fully utilize its weekly seat allocation to and from India under the bilateral air service agreement.
Etihad to Add New Flights to India
The Abu Dhabi (AUH) based airline currently has a significant number of unutilized seats, amounting to 10,000 per week out of the total 50,000 allocated seats.
By expanding its services and filling these unutilized seats, Etihad Airways is gearing up to enhance its presence and connectivity in the Indian market.
They are considering introducing new flights to key destinations in the country. Also opting to increase the frequency of flights on their existing network.
In partnership with Abu Dhabi Air Arabia (G9), Etihad operates 165 weekly flights to ten important gateways across India. These gateways include Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram.
According to Nath, India’s airline network has witnessed substantial growth in 2023, with a 54% increase.
Comparing the figures to 2022, their network connectivity has risen from 77 weekly flights to 118 weekly flights and 165 weekly flights for the Etihad and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi joint venture.
Latest EY Routes
In recent developments, the airline successfully resumed services to Kolkata. Further made notable improvements to its network by increasing services to Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Cochin.
Nath mentioned that they have expanded their services significantly. This includes adding extra daily flights to Delhi (three daily) and Mumbai (three daily). Subsequently, enhancing their global connectivity by increasing flights to the US.
Furthermore, the impressive growth is largely attributed to the surging demand in India’s outbound travel market. Nath highlighted the strong demand, stating that their operations are witnessing substantial growth.
Subsequently, there is a rising interest among Indian travelers, extending beyond the major cities, to indulge in luxury experiences, explore diverse cultures, and venture into international destinations.
In an interview with Reuters in April 2023, Etihad Airways’ CEO Antonoaldo Neves stated that the airline’s strategy has shifted to prioritize medium to long-haul destinations rather than ultra-long-haul flights (ULHF). ULHF poses intense competition and profitability challenges.
Neves announced that Etihad aims to triple the number of passengers it carries to 30 million. Further, increase its fleet to 150 planes by the end of the decade.
“Our mandate is very clear. We don’t fly to places where we don’t make money”Etihad CEO Antonoaldo Neves
In order to connect China, Southeast Asia, India, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to Europe and the United States East Coast, Etihad Airways is planning to expand its operations, Neves stated.
The country’s economy is growing, resulting in a surge in air travel in India. The domestic passenger numbers are returning to pre-COVID levels, and international traffic is picking up pace.
Neves expressed his lack of concern about the competition. He stated that there is enough room for everyone in the world’s most rapidly expanding aviation market (India).
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