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Etihad to expand India operations next summer

Etihad is expanding its India schedule next summer with multiple cities seeing capacity increases.

Going all-in!

As of 26th March 2023, Etihad will operate up to twice-daily flights to Ahmedabad and twice-daily flights to Chennai. Both the cities will see an addition of a daily flight. The additional flight to Ahmedabad will be operated by Airbus A320s while that to Chennai will be operated by Airbus A321s.

Kochi, as of 26th March 2023, will see an addition of 6-weekly flights, up from the current daily flight, bringing the total number of flights to 13-a-week. The additional Airbus A320 flight will run on all days except Sundays. Etihad will also launch a daily flight to Kolkata on 26th March 2023.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier will also operate an additional daily Airbus A320 flight to Mumbai and Delhi which as of 24th April 2023.

As of 24th April 2023, Etihad will operate 118-weekly flights to India, up from the current 77:

  • Mumbai: 21-weekly flights (3-a-day)
  • Delhi: 21-weekly flights (3-a-day)
  • Bengaluru: 14-weekly flights (2-a-day)
  • Ahmedabad: up to 14-weekly flights (2-a-day)
  • Chennai: 14-weekly flights (2-a-day)
  • Hyderabad: 14-weekly flights (2-a-day)
  • Kochi: 13-weekly flights
  • Kolkata: 7-weekly flights (once-daily)

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The additional flights which have been added to Ahmedabad, Chennai and Kochi have been timed for a evening departure out of the respective cities, with a late-evening arrival in Abu Dhabi. These flights seem to be targeted at connecting travellers as well as those who end their journey in Abu Dhabi.

The increase in capacity to almost all the points in India seems to be a great move by Etihad, as the India-UAE market is one of the largest in the world and increasing presence in such a large market is very important, especially to an airline like Etihad which largely depends on connecting travellers.

In comparison, Emirates operates 170-flights-a-week to India to 9 destinations. Etihad operates to all of Emirates’ Indian destinations with Thiruvananthapuram being the only destination not to be served by Etihad.

The transition of going to 118-weekly flights from 77-a-week is a big one for a “boutique” airline like Etihad. Although the India-UAE market is a year-round one, the sudden increase in capacity may be hard to absorb. I personally feel that Etihad should run a big marketing campaign to highlight the sudden increase in capacity and its trust in the Indian market. It certainly has enough time for it.

Meanwhile, Etihad recently announced that, for the first time, it will celebrate New Year onboard some of its flights.

Featured image by AIB Family Flights

What do you think of Etihad’s sudden capacity increase on flights to India? Let me know in the comments section below.

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