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Etihad Airways Plans Aggressive Expansion

Etihad Airways Reviving its Route Network

An Etihad Airways A380 poses in front of a Singapore Airlines A380 at New York-JFK (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Shaquille Khan)

United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airways has been expanding its network since the end of the pandemic. The airline has extended its route map again by adding the new flight services to Osaka, Japan; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Dusseldorf, Germany.

In addition, a new service to St. Petersburg will be launched on Oct. 29, and flights to Indian cities Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram will be launched on Jan. 01.

In the meantime, the airline will ramp up its services to European cities in November, such as Madrid and Milan. By popular demand, the airline will also scale up flight operations to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

“The new flights are the next important steps as we enhance our network delivering greater connectivity for our guests, and serving their demand for more opportunities to visit Abu Dhabi,” Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of the airline said.

Abu Dhabi-based airline launches the new route with an eye to attracting more visitors to the city. Earlier this year, Etihad and Emirates Airlines, its main rival, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost the country’s tourism. Both airlines expand their interline agreement and provide travelers additional itinerary options when visiting the country. Etihad touts the new routes could play a vital role in supporting Abu Dhabi.

The airline has recently awarded as a Five-star Global Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) for the third consecutive year.

Meanwhile, Neves has revealed the airline’s strategy for expanding the network. The airline would suspend a route after falling short of making profit within three to six months, and it has leaned toward developing medium and long-haul flight in recent years.

In the meantime, Etihad aims to triple its passenger volume to 30 million and double its fleet to 150 aircraft by 2030. According to its website, the airline owns a fleet of 79 aircraft, ranging from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the Airbus A380.

High Hope For Chinese Market

Meanwhile, Etihad is set to introduce daily flights to Beijing and Shanghai soon. Flights between two countries has recovered to 91% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-September.

“We hope to expand Etihad Airways’ presence in China through China Eastern (Airlines)’ network,” Neves SAID. Etihad recently deepened codeshare agreement with China Eastern Airlines.

Earlier, the airline signed a MOU with China Southern Airlines as well. It came after the first flight between Abu Dhabi and Beijing Daxing Airport. Etihad has high hope for the Chinese market, expecting a strong recovery by next year and tripling its capacity from its current level within 18 months.

However, Etihad is facing a setback. As a result of the policy of Bangladesh, the flight to Dhaka will be suspended on Oct.29. Bangladesh requests the foreign airline needs to appoint a Bangladeshi-owned General Sales Agents. But the airline refuses to comply with the policy.

Pete Ainsley


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