Gulf carrier Etihad, which concluded a 24 per cent stake purchase deal with Jet last month, today doubled the number of its flights to Abu Dhabi from Mumbai and Delhi, by adding a second daily service on these destinations in view of the growing demand.
Besides, the carrier has also deployed wide-bodied Airbus planes on both routes, thereby tripling the number of seats on these sectors, an Etihad Airways statement said.
This will see the Gulf airline adding 5,276 seats a week from the existing 1,904 seats. That is to say that it offer 2,996 seats a week from 952 now on the Abu Dhabi-Mumbai-Abu Dhabi route, and 2,730 a week on the Delhi-Abu Dhabi from 952 seats.
The new Etihad flights will also be marketed by Jet Airways as an extension of the airlines' existing codeshare partnership, it added.
The announcement comes a fortnight after Jet completed a 24 per cent stake sale to Etihad for Rs 2,069 crore.
Under the expanded schedules, which come with immediate effect, new mid-afternoon services to Mumbai and New Delhi are now being operated with 136-seater single-aisle A320s and the existing late evening departures have been upgraded to larger aircraft, it said.
On the Abu Dhabi-Mumbai route, the evening flight is now operated with a 292-seat A340-600 aircraft with 12 seats in diamond first class, 32 in Pearl business and 248 in economy, Etihad said.
This is the first Indian route on which Etihad has offered first class, it added.
"India is a significant and growing market for us. The enhanced capacity enable us to serve not only the local traffic demands between Abu Dhabi and India, but also to deliver much greater international connectivity for business and leisure guests," Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan said.
Those travelling from the country will have more opportunities to connect with flights to destinations including Abu Dhabi, the GCC, Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America, he said, adding, "They will also benefit from additional seats and more schedule options, providing greater travel flexibility."
The deployment of the A340-600 will add 2,044 seats per week on the Abu Dhabi-Mumbai-Abu Dhabi route, taking the total from 952 to 2,996 seats, just over triple the previous capacity.
On the Abu Dhabi-New Delhi-Abu Dhabi route, the evening service has been upgraded to a 254-seater A330-200 aircraft with 18 seats in business class and 236 in economy, the airline said adding, "This will increase the capacity on the route to 2,730 per week from 952 seats."
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