Etihad plans to expand its wings in India

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Mumbai, Feb 6 (PTI) Sharjah-based budget carrierEtihad plans to expand its wings further across India with aview to benefit from the growing air passenger traffic in theworld''s second-fastest growing major economy.

The airline is looking at adding a few moredestinations in India besides adding capacity from Delhi andMumbai, Etihad Airways sources said here.

"India, a fast-growing market, is very important forus. We are looking at a progressive but very reasonableincrease in our services in years to come," they told PTI.

The airline is evaluating cities such as Amritsar,Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Jaipur to add in its network, if itgets the required regulatory approvals, in the currentcalender year, they said.

"In addition, Goa is also on Etihad''s radar as anotherprospective destination. We are also mulling to reallocatesome of the existing seats to the Mumbai and Delhi to scale upfrequency from the two cities " sources said.

Most of the Gulf airlines operating out of India hadhuge seat capacity under the air traffic rights, they said,adding "We are the one with least number of seats."

Under the UAE-India air traffic rights bilateralagreement, Etihad can operate 13,330 seats per week on theIndia-Sharjah route.

"UAE is negotiating with the Indian Government toincrease the present allocation of seats. we hope it happenssooner than later," they said.

According to an estimate, nearly 40 per cent ofinternational air traffic from India is to the Gulf and WestAsian countries. (more) PTI IAS RSY

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