It has been announced that Etihad Airways’ new fleet of the popular Airbus A350s aircraft will be serving flights to India imminently.
Etihad has already started to run Airbus wide-body aircraft to India, as their A6-XWB Airbus aircraft flew an Abu Dhabi – Mumbai route earlier this weekend. Emirates announced last week their plans to re-introduce their pre-pandemic service to India, demonstrating greater demand to serve the Asian country.
Connecting the Middle East to South Asia and beyond
Etihad plans to offer more short-to-medium haul destinations to India over the coming weeks, with aspirational intentions officiating those destinations into permanent offerings for Etihad customers.
Thanks to the spacious characteristics of the Airbus A350, Etihad aims to use the aircraft to target key avionic markets in the U.S by offering long-haul flights to the States, all while returning to India frequently to tend to the market there.
Etihad CEO Tony Douglas, in a press conference, offered further detail on the routes chosen for the airline’s new fleet of A350s:
“When we put this into regular service in the summer of this year – the aircraft will be in regular service, but it’ll be on shorter haul as we go up the learning curve – the regular service will be North America from Abu Dhabi. So, you will probably see an A350 operated into Chicago, into New York. Back into Abu Dhabi. The shorter leg will be into the Indian subcontinent, so to Mumbai and Delhi and then back again.”
Choosing to run flights to the United States using the popular A350 promotes the aircraft to a flagship role that was previously held by the world’s largest passenger airliner – the Airbus A380. The more marks a clear incentive to improve service to the U.S, and as for how Delhi and Mumbai fit in, CEO Douglas shed further light:
“There are an awful lot of American green cardholders in the Indian subcontinent, and Abu Dhabi International Airport is one of only four locations in the world with the US preclearance facility. So, you can clear customs in Abu Dhabi, which of course is another key differentiator in that regard.”
This makes complete sense, as targeting one of four locations with an American pre-clearance facility (the others being Ireland, the Caribbean, and Canada) will allow for a substantial positive increase in incentive to travel from Abu Dhabi to the U.S, thereby increasing demand for the UAE airline.
As of now, Ethiad Airways houses four A350s in Abu Dhabi. The fifth will arrive from Bordeaux, where it has been stored for some time, before the end of this year.
CEO Tony Douglas is keen to bump that number up to 12, or at least 14 as he remarked upon in the press conference referenced above.
The second-largest airline in the UAE outside the Emirates, Ethiad, has a clear positive growth in its sights. Already, CEO Douglas has said that he anticipates having the best first quarter in the history of the airline’s existence after a promising March.
What do you think about Ethiad improving connectivity between the UAE, India, and the United States? Let us know.