Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will provide travellers with even more connections between India, the UAE and other key markets around the world, following a major service upgrade to Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kozhikode and Hyderabad this summer.
Due to strong demand from business and leisure travellers, a double-daily frequency will be operated to Bangalore, Chennai and Kozhikode from today, and Hyderabad from October 1st.
As a result, guests have the option of daytime or overnight flights, and improved connections between India and key markets in the GCC, Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.
Double-daily frequencies were also introduced to Kochi route last month, as well as Mumbai and New Delhi in November 2013, supporting a long-term development plan in India.
The airline will utilise new Airbus A320s, scheduled for delivery this year, to accommodate much of the increased frequencies.
Larger wide-body aircraft were also introduced on selected routes in November 2013, with a three-class A340 on overnight Mumbai flights, marking the debut of Etihad Airways’ First Class product on the route, and A330s on overnight Delhi flights.
Kochi flights have also been upgraded with the recent introduction of new Airbus A321 aircraft, while overnight Delhi flights will be further enhanced with three-class Boeing 777 from July 15th.
In addition to the seven existing or planned double-daily services, Etihad Airways operates daily to Ahmedabad, Trivandrum and most recently, Jaipur, where flights commenced in April 2014.
James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, 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.
“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 Airways also announced a significant expansion of its codeshare agreement with Jet Airways, after the two airlines obtained 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 including 31 Jet Airways routes from hubs in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore to regional centres in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Patna, Trivandrum and Vadodara.
Also included are Jet Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, and Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mumbai, New Delhi and Trivandrum.
Hogan added: “This codeshare expansion was a milestone development for both airlines.
“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.”
The new codeshare routes are now available for sale and enable members of the integrated Etihad Guest and JetPrivilege frequent flyer programs to earn and redeem miles, while also benefitting from reciprocal tier level recognition across the global networks of both airlines.