Etihad Airways asks for traffic rights to 8 more cities

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Kochi, Nov 23 (UNI) Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, hopes to fly to eight more Indian destinations from next year in addition to the four cities served by it at present, the airline's Acting Country Manager Neerja Bhatia said today.

Addressing a press conference here, Ms Bhatia said the airline, which started its operations to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram in May-June this year, had done ''exceptionally well in the Kerala sector.'' In view of this, the airline had increased its flights to Thiruvananthapuram from three to seven and to Kochi from four to seven in a week, effective from October-end.

From January, the airline would increase its frequency to Kochi to eight flights a week, subject to approval by the Central Government.

The airline, which was planning to introduce A320s in the Kerala sector next year, would be able to operate two flights everyday from Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi to the Gulf, she said.

Ms Bhatia said Etihad Airways had requested the Central Government for traffic rights to eight other Indian cities, including Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Kolkata, Jaipur and Kozhikode.

''These are subject to bilateral negotiations at the government level, but we are hopeful for the approvals coming in,'' she added.

The airline had started its operations to India in 2004, with ten flights a week to Mumbai and Delhi. It presently operates 28 flights a week to India -- seven each to Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

She said the airline had made ''tactical offers'' to passengers in terms of fares to the UAE and Europe this year.


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