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Etihad-Jet Alliance Flew 63% More Passengers in 2015 at 3.3 Million

Etihad Airways, which has 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways said the alliance carried 63 per cent more passengers from the country.

Published: 04th May 2016 09:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2016 11:45 PM   |  A+A-

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James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways sits between Maurizio Merlo (L), CEO of Darwin Airline and Peter Baumgartner (R), chief commercial officer of Etihad as he addresses a news conference to launch Etihad Regional airline at the airport in Zurich. | Reuters

By PTI

MUMBAI: Etihad Airways, which has 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways, today said the alliance carried 63 per cent more passengers from the country in 2015 at 3.3 million.

"We (Etihad and Jet Airways) have carried 3.3 million passengers between India and Abu Dhabi in 2015.

"This is a growth of 63 per cent over 2014," Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer Peter Baumgartner told reporters.

"This makes the Etihad-Jet combine the largest international carrier from this country, flying in and out 1 in every 5 passengers, operating 254 flights a week from 15 gateways cities in the country and enjoying as much as 21 per cent market share," Baumgartner said.

While Etihad directly connects 11 cities in the country with Abu Dhabi directly, Jet connects four more cities with the Gulf city.

The UAE national carrier has from Sunday added Mumbai as the fourth destination for the super jumbo Airbus A380 that boasts of the world's first family suite in the skies called The Residence, offering a three-room suite (a living room, bedroom and a shower), 9 first-class apartments, 70 business studios and 417 economy class seats.

The world's seventh largest airline group started deploying A380s on its network from December 2014. It has since then been connecting Abu Dhabi with New York (daily),

London (twice a day) and Sydney (daily) and from May 1, Mumbai (daily).

From June 1, it will also fly the super jumbo to Melbourne daily.

With this, a passenger from Mumbai can fly all the way to New York (JFK) or London with just a halt in Abu Dhabi, Baumgartner added.

Baumgartner further said the deployment of the world's largest aircraft on the Mumbai-Abu Dhabi sector shows the importance the airline accords to this market, which is the largest sourcing market for the flag carrier of the Emirate, getting close to 19 per cent of its total business in terms of load factor.

Etihad becomes the fourth international carrier to deploy the A380s from the city after Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, all of which also connect Delhi with these aircraft.

"We are flying 44,000 seats a week and hope to fly more with the A380 service," he added. Abu Dhabi has over 51,000 seats a week as part of the bilateral between the two nations, which means to and fro there are 1,02,000 seats available on the sector.

Baumgartner further said "India continues to be a crucial part of Etihad's growth strategy contributing significantly to the airline's global operations and job creation and connecting India with the rest of the world.

"Bringing our flagship product to India is further proof of the significance of this market and more importantly, our commitment to this country's economy. Of the more than 26,000 employees from as many as 144 nationalities, more than 20 per cent are Indians."

Baumgartner, however, repeatedly parried questions on allegations that the UAE carrier has pushed down its partner Jet to being a feeder carrier. Jet is the largest international carrier from the country.

Baumgartner also avoided questions about the reported plans of his carrier to increase stake in the Naresh Goyal-run carrier through debt investment. Etihad has so far  invested over USD 750 million in Jet.

From the cargo side, he said the airline is the ninth biggest carrier from the country. Last year, it airlifted as much as 1.2 lakh tonne cargo to and fro from the country.

He said this is likely to go up further as the bilateral trade is set to jump 60 per cent by 2020 to USD 100 billion.

The UAE is the largest Arab investor in the country and the 10th largest overall, while India is the third largest trading partner for the Emirate.

Etihad launched only in 2003 has gone on to become the seventh largest airline group in the world carrying 17.6 million passengers in 2015, out of which close to 18 per cent or 3.3 million were to and from India alone.

The airline connects as many as 117 destinations from its Abu Dhabi hub, deploying 122 aircraft (and 204 more on order).

Along with its 49 code partners and five equity partners, it has carried 111 million passengers in 2015. It has 10 A380s now and more have been ordered.

The airline owns 49 per cent each in Alitalia and Air Serbia, 40 per cent in Air Seychelles, 33 per cent in Etihad Regional, 30 per cent Virgin Australia and 24 per cent in Jet Airways.

That apart, it also owns equity in Air Berlin and the Swiss-based Darwin Airline.



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