Etihad Airways treated delegates to an engaging presentation at the 20th World Routes Development Forum Strategy Summit, outlining the carrier’s expanded network by the end of 2015, including a brand new route announcement outlining the deployment of aircraft to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Tbilisi in Georgia and Baku in Azerbaijan. Flights to all three destinations will be operated using Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration, with a total of 16 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class.
The World Routes presentation was delivered by its chief strategy and planning officer, Kevin Knight, and the rapidly developing airline revealed how it planned to take advantage of the extraordinary growth and unparalleled diversification currently taking place in the UAE.
Knight said he was confident of Etihad’s organic growth over the coming months and years thanks to a combination of advanced aircraft technology, enabling non-stop access between Abu Dhabi and almost any destination in the world, with a new airport terminal from July 2017, lifting annual passenger capacity to 30 million.
Etihad’s ideally-located hub in Abu Dhabi allows it to connect expanding and emerging markets, the likes of Africa, India and China, with existing mature markets, such as Europe and the US.
Demonstrating this strategy, by the end of the next year the little-over a decade old airline will have added a number of new non-stop routes including San Francisco and Dallas in the US in November and December 2014 respectively; alongside Africa’s Dar es Salaam (December 2014), Entebbe (May 2015) and Algiers (June 2015).
Madrid and Edinburgh are due to be added from March and June 2015, with the capitals of Georgia and Azerbaijan, Tbilisi and Baku, both arriving in October 2015. Next February will see Etihad commence flights to Kolkata and Hong Kong, with Phuket in Thailand arriving slightly earlier this October. Rounding off the 13 new routes will be the carrier’s new non-stop service to Brisbane in May next year, dropping the Singapore stop-over that is currently included on the service.
To close his presentation, Knight declared: “The airline industry is changing and the future offers a wealth of opportunities, accordingly Etihad is taking a pro-active initiative-based approach to more effectively compete on the world stage.”