Etihad expects nod to operate more flights soon

Mumbai, February 8 (PTI) The UAE flag carrier EtihadAirways has said it is hopeful of operating more flights toand from India shortly as it expects an early decision on theseat sharing formula between the two countries.

"The UAE is negotiating with India to increase thepresent allocation of seats. We hope it happens sooner thanlater," an Etihad Airways source said here.

Under the India-UAE air traffic rights agreement, Etihadcan fly 13,330 seats per week on the India-Abu Dhabi sector.

"India is the largest market for us as eight of our 66destinations are in this country. We want to deepen ourconnect with India," the source said.

Etihad intends to expand India operations based on marketdemand, the source said, adding, "we hope New Delhi will allowus to meet the traffic growth."

The source also pointed out that despite this Etihad hasthe least number of seats while most of the Gulf airlinesoperating in the country have huge seat capacity under theirair traffic rights pacts.

Etihad chief executive James Hogan after a meeting withnew aviation minister Vayalar Ravi last week had said that"the airline sees enormous opportunity to expand and diversifyour services (in India) in the light of the unique mix oftraffic and the growing position of both the countries asworld-class business and holiday destinations." PTI IAS ARCBENVKV

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