Dubai: Making India a pivot of its growth, UAE’s national airline Etihad Airways will launch new flights to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, as its two new destinations, and introduce three new flights to Delhi.
The airline will launch its four-times-a-week flight to Kochi and thrice-weekly flight to Thiruvananthapuram in May while flights to New Delhi will start in June, company officials said adding they will increase 15 more seats in the Mumbai-bound flights.
“India is the cornerstone market for Etihad,” Iain Burns, vice-president of communications of the airline, was quoted as saying in Gulf News.
The new Ethihad flights is the result of latest round of bilateral talks with India over new air rights for adding two new destinations in Kerala, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, increasing from three to seven flights a week to New Delhi and 15 more seats per day on flights to Mumbai, he said.
The airline is also looking at Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabdad as potential new destinations. The Etihad Airways plans to make the country the centrepiece of its growth plans.
“Both India and the UAE are growing into positions as world-class holiday and business destinations. India, as a the second-fastest growing economy in world, will demand frequent travel to the Middle East,” Burns said.
The flights to Mumbai and New Delhi, Etihad’s two most successful flights, are recording seat factors of 80% as compared to the carrier’s overall average of 67%, he added.
Etihad is borrowing up to $1.2 billion (Rs5,145crore) to buy one aircraft every month this year, Burns said, two Airbus A340s will be devoted to the Indian market.