Etihad Increases Frequency On Indian Routes

Double-daily frequencies will be operated to Bangalore, Chennai, Kozhikode and Hyderabad.

Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways has announced increased frequency on several Indian routes to meet growing demand, it announced on Tuesday.

Double-daily frequencies will be operated to Bangalore, Chennai and Kozhikode from July 1 and Hyderabad from October 1, 2014. Following the service upgrade, travellers can choose daytime or overnight flights, a statement said.

Etihad already introduced double-daily frequencies to Kochi last month, and Mumbai and New Delhi in November 2013. The move supports a long-term development plan in India, the carrier said.

James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad, said: “As one of the largest, fastest-growing and most exciting travel markets in the world, India continues to play an important role in our growth plans.

“Last year alone, more than 885,000 people flew on our Indian services, a substantial increase of 20 per cent on the previous year.”

The airline said it will utilise new Airbus A320s, scheduled for delivery this year, to handle most of the increased frequencies.

Larger wide-body aircraft were introduced on selected routes in November 2013, with a three-class A340 on overnight Mumbai flights and A330s on overnight Delhi flights.

Kochi flights have also been upgraded with new Airbus A321 aircraft, while a three-class Boeing 777 will be deployed on overnight Delhi flights from July 15, the statement said.

Along with the seven existing or planned double-daily services, Etihad operates daily flights to Ahmedabad, Trivandrum and Jaipur.

Hogan said: “Subject to regulatory approvals, we will continue to expand our India operations and work with Jet Airways to accommodate strong growth and deliver much greater choice for travel to and from India.”

Last month, Etihad announced an expansion of its agreement with Indian carrier Jet Airways, after the two airlines received regulatory approval to codeshare on 43 additional routes, bringing the total number of services in their codeshare agreement to 71.

As part of the expansion, Etihad Airways has placed its ‘EY’ code on domestic services in India for the first time, with the codeshare agreement now on 31 Jet Airways routes.

Hogan added: “In addition to placing our ‘EY’ code on domestic flights within India for the first time, the agreement now incorporates more services between Abu Dhabi and India than ever before, benefitting travellers with enhanced network reach, more frequent services, and increased convenience.”

Etihad completed the acquisition of a 24 per cent minority stake in Jet Airways for $379 million earlier this year, becoming the first foreign carrier to invest in an Indian airline after the country relaxed foreign ownership rules in 2013.