Etihad Airways is celebrating 15 years of services to its largest and busiest market – India.
The carrier launched daily flights between the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi and the Indian city of Mumbai in September 2004, within the airline’s first year of operation. Three months later, Etihad Airways adopted its New Delhi service.
Today, the UAE national carrier operates 159 return flights per week between Abu Dhabi and 10 key Indian gateways, inclusive of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram. Through its Abu Dhabi hub, the airline connects each of these gateways to international destinations across the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa.
Since launching operations to the sub-continent, Etihad Airways has carried more than 16.5 million passengers on its Indian routes.
On the celebration, the airline’s CEO, Tony Douglas commented: “India and the UAE share a long and strong economic, cultural and diplomatic relationship, and Etihad Airways connects these nations to each other and beyond. We serve more destinations in India than any other country in our network and connect India to the world via Abu Dhabi.
“Globally, we employ more than 4,800 Indian nationals, almost 25 per cent of our workforce. Our commitment is significant and will continue to grow,” he added.
The airline is continually increasing flights to the country and deploying newer, larger aircraft, including its latest addition, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which serves cities including Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad.
Etihad Guest, the airline’s loyalty programme, recently partnered with SBI Card, one of India’s largest credit card providers, to offer a unique travel-specific Visa credit card to Indian travellers. And for guests flying with Etihad Airways from India to the US, the Customs and Border Protection facility at Abu Dhabi Airport enables US immigration, customs and agriculture formalities to be completed in Abu Dhabi before departure.
Etihad Airways also continues to support India through a range of corporate social responsibility initiatives, including its Global Education Project, which provides and raises funds for new education facilities and supplies. The airline runs workshops to develop skills and support the empowerment of women and provides aid to assist after natural disasters such as floods in Kerala.