Etihad Airways is supporting India Aviation 2016 this week by proudly showcasing two of its newest aircraft – a Boeing 787 passenger jet and Boeing 777 freighter – at the country’s premier civil aviation exhibition and air show being held in Hyderabad.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, one of five in the airline’s fleet, will be joined by a freighter on static display during the event attended by key government and aviation industry stakeholders from India and around the world. The five-day show at Begumpet Airport in southern India runs from March 16 to 20.
Organised by India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the event provides Etihad Airways with another platform to engage with policy makers, business leaders, aviation experts and others across the aviation industry.
India is one of Etihad Airways’ key markets with 175 scheduled passenger flights each week being operated across 11 cities from the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub. With strategic Indian partner Jet Airways, Etihad Airways has a combined 254 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and 15 cities across India. Together, both carriers are the largest international operator of scheduled flights to and from India, with a 20 per cent market share.
Last year, Etihad Airways and Jet Airways carried a total 3.3 million guests to and from India, a 63 per cent increase on the 2 million flown in 2014. Etihad Airways’ current 11 Indian destinations from Abu Dhabi are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram.
Jet Airways offers the additional Indian gateways of Pune, Lucknow, Goa and Mangalore, as well as numerous domestic connections as codeshare services with Etihad Airways. Through the combined networks of both carriers, Etihad Airways proudly promotes India to global business and leisure travellers, and helps connect India’s people and products to the world.
In addition, Etihad Airways’ freight division, Etihad Cargo, operates 14 dedicated freighter services each week to four Indian metro cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru. The airline flies 120,000 tons of cargo to and from India each year that represents around nine per cent of the total Indian international freight market. This includes pharmaceutical products, largely originating from Hyderabad, the centre of India’s medicinal industry.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “This week’s India Aviation show in Hyderabad enables Etihad Airways to show our unwavering support for trade and tourism in one of the world’s most dynamic economies.
“Our new Boeing 787 passenger aircraft and Boeing 777 freighter will provide visitors with an opportunity to see firsthand the latest additions to our fleet. With our equity partner Jet Airways exhibiting, our combined presence and strength demonstrates the prominence we give to the rapidly developing Indian market.
“Since our first flight into India 12 years ago, Etihad Airways has supported trade, commerce and job creation, as well as contributed to the tourism industry. Our passenger flights have given the travelling public from India greater choice and more connectivity to destinations worldwide over our Abu Dhabi hub.”
Added Mr Hogan: “Our cargo operation too has grown rapidly to support India’s manufacturing industry and exports, today making us a strong partner for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative.”
Etihad Airways’ presence in Hyderabad also reaffirms the strong ties between the UAE and India. The UAE is the 10th biggest foreign – and largest Arab – investor in India.
Trade between the two countries is estimated to grow by more than 60 per cent in the next five years from the current level of around US$60 billion, with investments and imports/exports across a range of sectors, including energy, defence, manufacturing, aerospace, health, education, tourism, science and technology.
Etihad Airways’ 235-seat Dreamliners are the most customised Boeing 787 aircraft in the world, including its unique curved aisle in the carrier’s award-winning First Class cabin. The aircraft, more fuel efficient than any other in its category, features 8 First Suites, 28 Business Studios and 199 Economy Smart seats with one of the most advanced inflight entertainment systems in the world, featuring hundreds of hours of interactive in-seat audio and video programming options.
The Boeing 777 freighter – the 11th aircraft in Etihad Airways’ cargo fleet – is specifically equipped with nine seats to carry additional grooms as part of its Sky Stables programme, which supports the movement of high value horses. In addition to serving India, the 777 freighters also fly to destinations in Europe, South America, Far East and Africa.
Etihad Cargo is the 10th largest air freight business in the world and fifth largest when combined with Etihad Airways’ equity partners, according to official data from World Air Cargo.