Etihad Airways, flag carrier of the UAE, said that Mumbai and New Delhi will be served with triple-daily flights. A new service to Kolkata will also be launched by the gulf carrier, which recently picked up 24 percent minority stake in India’s Jet Airways.
Etihad Airways has announced its plans to start third daily flight service to both Delhi and Mumbai from Abu Dhabi, UAE’s capital. The airline also announced a launch of a new service to Kolkata, a key hub in eastern India.
New flights to Kolkata and the third daily to Mumbai, India’s financial centre, will start from February 15, 2015. On the other hand, the third daily to India’s capital, Delhi will be starting from May 1, 2015.
As of now, the Abu Dhabi-based airline operates two flights daily from Delhi and Mumbai.
The rise in the number of flights to India comes almost a year after the Gulf carrier picked up 24 per cent minority equity stake in Jet Airways, one of India’s largest airlines. Together, Etihad and Jet will be able to connect travellers, who book air tickets, with 14 cities in India from Abu Dhabi. Tickets would be available for more than 200 return flights, each week.
This Indian network includes three flights a day to Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi, two flights daily to Ahmedabad and Kozhikode and daily flights to Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram.
Etihad Airways also has plans to upgrade its planes on certain Indian routes. The carrier hopes of bringing in three-class, wide-body aircraft on select flights, above and beyond operating its new Boeing 787 -9 Dreamliner on the Mumbai evening flights in January 2015.
Etihad President and CEO James Hogan said, “India is expected to become the world’s third largest air passenger market within the next 20 years, and we are focused on providing travellers with the best possible offering into and out of the country.”
In the first half of current year, as many as 620,000 passengers have booked tickets for Etihad’s India services, which is a massive rise compared to the last year. Mr Hogan spoke about the growing demand for flight tickets in the market and how the launch of triple-daily services to Mumbai and Delhi is going to cater to that demand.