India plays a crucial role in Etihad Airways' growth strategy, contributing significantly to the airline's global operations, a top company official said.
Marking the Abu Dhabi-based carrier's 15-years of flying to India, Neerja Bhatia, Etihad Airways' Vice President, Indian Sub-continent, reiterated the airline's unwavering commitment to the country over the last 15 years, which she said, “has resulted in Etihad Airways becoming one of the most preferred airlines for travellers from India.”
Etihad began operations in India in September 2004.
A statement released by the airline said Mumbai was the first route in the country to be served by Etihad and today the city ranks highest in terms of total passengers the airline has carried over the years, with the number exceeding 3.5 million.
Owing to passenger demand on this route, Etihad introduced a fourth daily service to Mumbai last year. Delhi and Cochin rank second and third, with the airline carrying over 3.2 million and 2.3 million passengers on these routes, respectively over the years. Etihad has also added a fourth daily frequency on its Delhi - Abu Dhabi route.
As a result of its optimized schedule of non-stop flights between the UAE and India, appealing to greater numbers of point-to-point business and leisure passengers, Abu Dhabi is now the most popular destination for Indian travellers on the Etihad network, said the statement.
Etihad operates 161 return flights per week between Abu Dhabi and 10 key Indian gateways of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram, connecting each of these gateways to international destinations.“Etihad Airways remains committed to its largest and busiest market, India. The UAE and India have shared strong commercial, cultural and historic relations and we will continue to honour these excellent trade and tourism ties through closer partnership with our friends in the Indian travel trade," Danny Barranger, Etihad Airways' Senior Vice President Global Sales, said.