Etihad Airways plans to resume services to as many as 58 destinations by the end of August dependent on the easing of international border restrictions the Abu Dhabi-based airline announced on Tuesday. The carrier has been operating services to around 20 destinations since early June after being forced to ground its entire fleet on March 25 but hopes to significantly ramp up its global network in the coming weeks.
In a statement, Etihad said the decision to expand its network followed the decision by the UAE’s regulatory authorities to ease travel restrictions on outbound and inbound travel for citizens and residents. Unlike the neighbouring emirate of Dubai which welcomed its first tourists since lockdown restrictions were enforced on Tuesday, tourists are not yet welcome in Abu Dhabi.
“We are delighted to announce the gradual expansion of normal scheduled services to more cities across our global network,” commented Tony Douglas, chief executive of the Etihad Airways Group commented. “The easing of restrictions on travel to and from the UAE is an important first step and a great development for Abu Dhabi.”
By August, Douglas said that Etihad plans to have restored approximately 45 per cent of the airline’s pre-COVID capacity.
“While we have continued to operate a schedule of special passenger, cargo and humanitarian flights over the last few months, the priority is now to build the network back up on markets that have opened up, and to provide a secure and hygienic flying environment across the entire guest journey,” Douglas continued.
In comparison, Emirates is targeting the resumption of services to 52 destinations by the end of July. Regional rival Qatar Airways, meanwhile, says it is planning 430 weekly flights to as many as 65 destinations by mid-July.
As of July 1, Etihad has resumed regulary scheduled flights to the following 32 destinations:
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From 16th July, Etihad intends to resume services to Manchester, Dusseldorf, Munich, Belgrade, Amman, Kuwait, and Male.
And from August 1, and subject to the further easing of travel restrictions, flights to the following destinations are also planned: Rome, Istanbul, Baku, Casablanca, Rabat, Riyadh, Muscat, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Kozhikode, Kochi, Trivandrum, Bengaluru, Moscow, and Washington DC.
While tourists are still not allowed to enter Abu Dhabi, transit passengers have been allowed to connect through the city’s airport since June.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.