Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways announced that it is launching triple daily services to the Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, to keep up with increased demand.
Both cities will be upgraded from their current double-daily frequencies, with the third daily flight to Mumbai starting on February 15, 2015 and to New Delhi on May 1, 2015, a statement said.
The airline said that the move will provide business and leisure travellers with more options between the UAE and India.
James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad 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.
“Already in the first half of 2014, more than 620,000 passengers flew on our India services, a substantial increase of 51 per cent year-on-year. The launch of triple-daily services to Mumbai and New Delhi, our most popular routes in India, will allow us to meet growing market demand.”
The Abu Dhabi carrier received up to 36,000 seats into India last year after a bilateral air service agreement was signed between the UAE and India.
Etihad also acquired a minority stake in Jet Airways for $379 million last year, making it the first foreign investment following the opening up of India’s aviation sector.
“Our relationship with Jet Airways will also continue to play an important role. Both airlines’ depth and breadth in India is stronger than any of our regional competitors and there are significant opportunities to increase our frequencies on existing routes, and introduce more Indian destinations into our network, which will set us even further apart from other airlines,” said Hogan.
Along with Jet Airways’ services, both airlines will connect Abu Dhabi to 14 Indian cities, with over 200 return flights each week.
This includes five flights a day to Mumbai, four flights a day to New Delhi, three flights a day to Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi, two flights a day to Ahmedabad and Kozhikode, and daily flights to Jaipur and Trivandrum.
Etihad will also launch a daily service to Kolkata on February 15 and Jet has announced it will soon launch daily services between Abu Dhabi and Goa, Lucknow and Pune.
The Abu Dhabi carrier has also upgraded its aircraft on select Indian routes and will operate its new Boeing 787-9 on Mumbai evening services in January 2015, the statement said.