Etihad Airways set for India subcontinent entry

ABU DHABI - The UAE's newest airline Etihad Airways, floated in November last year by the Government of Abu Dhabi, has started making its presence felt in the aviation industry, spreading its wings to destinations in the Indian subcontinent.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 25 Feb 2004, 12:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:55 PM

According to industry sources Etihad Airways has acquired rights for two destinations in India and one to Pakistan.

It will be operating once a week flight from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai in August and to New Delhi in December this year, while the Karachi operation is expected to start some time in March or early April this year.

The airline established in July last year by a decree issued by Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, with a paid up capital of Dh500 million had initially leased two wide bodied A330- Airbus for operations to several destinations in the Middle East. Its first maiden flight was on November 12 to Beirut, followed by flights to Damascus and Amman. Jeddah, Khartoum and Cairo and the United Kingdom are also on the cards.

Khaleej Times learned that the airline has already acquired a third aircraft and is in the process of getting the fourth one before it commences its operations to Mumbai and Delhi.

The airline has the potential to increase its fleet of aircraft and has already set its goal of gradual expansion over a period of three years when it will be operating daily services to major markets and a minimum frequency of three a week to all destinations.

Designated as the UAE's national airline and as the airline of the 21st century, its premium economy class, a service excellence concept introduced for the first time in the region is expected to be popular with travellers on the Mumbai and Delhi sectors.

Travel industry sources have welcomed the new entrant to highly saturated sectors of Mumbai and Delhi. But the big question is pricing. Will Etihad Airways offer competitive fares or will it cater only to the discerning passenger?

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