• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Int’l airlines strengthen networks, increase fees ahead 2014

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Ahead of expectation of high international traffic in 2014, airlines are falling heads over heels as they advance plans to meet the challenges the year will pose.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced plans to introduce three more destinations to its core international network in 2014.

The eight new routes will increase Etihad Airways’ worldwide network to 102 destinations next year.

According to James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, “This is part of a measured and strategic growth plan, which will reinforce the future of the national carrier of the UAE and the vital role it plays in the emergence of Abu Dhabi as a global aviation hub.

“Together with our code-share and equity alliance partners, we have created a virtual network of more than 375 destinations. But more importantly, it strengthens our customer proposition by offering more choice and better connections across our hub in Abu Dhabi.”

Etihad Airways’ equity alliance airlines presently include airberlin, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles,Darwin Airline (subject to regulatory approval), Jet Airways and Virgin Australia.

The 2014 network plan also makes provision for increases in frequency and connectivity on existing routes, with more than 20 percent growth expected in weekly departures.

To support the next phase of its global network expansion, Etihad Airways will receive 20 aircraft deliveries next year, including the much-awaited arrival of its first 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A380s.

According to Tim Clark, president, Emirates Airline, “Our customers love the A380 – from the quieter cabins and spacious layout on the main deck, to the on-board lounge and shower spas in our premium cabins.

“It is a beautiful aircraft which we have packed full of the best in-flight comforts and products. From an operator standpoint, the A380 is still one of the most fuel efficient aircraft per seat. It offers us some flexibility in range and also helps us to meet demand at slot-constrained airports.

“Continuous improvements are being made to the A380, by the manufacturer as well as by Emirates in terms of our on-board product. For instance our latest A380s have been fitted with even bigger high definition LCD TV screens to enhance the in-flight entertainment experience.

“We’ve also introduced new touch-screen tablets that allow passengers to control all their seat functions and movie selections with just one swipe. Small details, but all these add up to provide a great flying experience,” he added.

In 2013, Emirates received 13 A380 aircraft and it expects to receive another 13 in 2014. The airline still has 96 more A380s worth USD 43 billion on order, of which 71 are expected to be delivered over the next five years, before the end of 2018.

From its Dubai hub and dedicated A380 terminal, Emirates’ A380s crisscross the globe flying to 24 destinations spanning Los Angeles to Auckland. Illustrating the range of the A380, Emirates’ currently operates the world’s longest non-stop A380 service (13,414 kilometres), with its daily A380 flight between Dubai and Los Angeles, launched earlier this month.

Emirates’ current A380 destinations are: Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Mauritius, Melbourne, Moscow, Munich, New York JFK, Paris among others.

By: Sade Williams