As expected, when it launched its four flights a week on the Abu Dhabi Bangalore sector earlier this year, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, will increase its frequency and make the flight a daily service from the Summer 2011 schedule which commences from March 25.
Compared to its other dominant GCC rivals Emirates airline and Qatar Airways. Etihad has one of the poorest utilisation of its bi-lateral rights with India. Hopefully this is something Neerja Bhatia, the country manager for Etihad Airways, can address soon.
Etihad operates a two class Airbus A320 narrow body to Bangalore, with 16 seats in business class and 120 in economy class. Emirates operates triple dailies to Dubai with A330-200’s, some of which will be upgraded to A340-300s soon. Qatar Airways recently upgraded its daily Doha service to an A321 narrow body.
Like its famous cousin Emirates, Etihad Airways provides a complimentary chauffeur service for its premium class passengers flying in and out of Bangalore Airport using Mercedes Benz E class cars (compared to C class for Emirates business class passengers), which is also offered in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad.
With the introduction of Emirates’ second daily on the Dubai Los Angeles route, the evening Bangalore Dubai flight, which offers connections, has seen a significant load factor increase.
Do you feel that Etihad should consider moving to a wide body operation by the Winter 2011 schedule in order to gain a leg up on Qatar and to keep up with Emirates? Post a comment.