Etihad Airways has announced a further increase in capacity to India following its acquisition of a minority stake in Indian airline Jet Airways.
Etihad, which has purchased a 24 per cent shareholding in Jet, said it wanted to use its Abu Dhabi base “as a global hub connecting international passengers and freight with flights to and from India”.
The airline has already doubled flights from Abu Dhabi to both Mumbai and New Delhi from daily to double-daily, as well as using larger aircraft on the two routes.
Etihad is also to increase flights from daily to double-daily next year on another four routes: Kochi (starting from June 2014), Bangalore and Chennai (from July 2014), and Hyderabad (from October 2014).
In another move, Etihad will enable passengers flying from India to the US via Abu Dhabi to clear US immigration and customs at Abu Dhabi airport.
Etihad and Jet also plan to codeshare on each other’s flights between Abu Dhabi, India and other destinations in the Middle East, Europe and North America, subject to receiving regulatory approval across a range of countries.
James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “India is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing air travel markets, and will play an increasingly important role in our growth.
“Through our purchase of 24 per cent of Jet Airways – the first foreign investment permitted in an Indian airline – we have laid the foundations for major and exciting growth in air services between Abu Dhabi and India, and beyond throughout our global network.”