Etihad Airways wants to expand in India
Etihad Airways has said it is working to add more destinations in India to its flight network targeting the major cities in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Geert Boven, the executive vice president of the Abu Dhabi based airline, said that Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad were all "in the airline's sights" as the carrier prepares to launch flights on May 30 to Thiruvananthapuram and to Kochi on June 2, news agency WAM reported Thursday.
In March Etihad held talks with the Indian authorities over the opening of new routes, which will enable Etihad to offer a total of 21 flights per week from Abu Dhabi to India, a press release said.
Boven said: "With a population of one billion people and the world's second fastest growing economy, demand for Etihad's flights to India is huge."
Over one million Indian citizens are living in the UAE who are eager to have greater air links, he added.
"I do hope that the two governments can reach agreement for even more non-stop flights to help satisfy consumer demand."
The UAE is India's most dominant trading partner in the entire WANA (West Asia North Africa) region, and represents 70 per cent of India's export to GCC (Gulf Cooperative Council) countries. Currently there are 3,300 Indian companies operating in the UAE.
The Etihad flights will offer 3,360 seats per week between the UAE and Kerala which will increase to 6,720 when the two Kerala routes become daily service from October 2007.