Etihad Airways has started flying its Airbus A380 aircraft to India, with the launch of a new daily service to Mumbai.
Flight EY204 from Abu Dhabi landed at the Indian city’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on 1 May, making Mumbai only the fourth city in the world to welcome Etihad’s A380, after London, Sydney and New York.
“Etihad Airways is a young, innovative airline, yet a long-time supporter of the buoyant Indian aviation industry, operating to this diverse country since 2004 when Mumbai became the launch pad of our operations here,” said James Hogan, Etihad’s president & CEO.
“Bringing our flagship product to India with additional seat capacity demonstrates our overwhelming undertaking to one of the world’s fastest growing economies, helping fulfil growing demand and meeting travellers’ expectations for superior products and services. Key feeder markets to and from Europe, North America and the Middle East will also benefit greatly from the upgraded service.
“Our commitment to India is unequivocal, having built a robust and successful route network with our own dedicated services and those of our partner Jet Airways which, combined, give us 20% market share, making us the largest contributors of passenger traffic to and from India, bigger than any other international airline,” he added.
The new A380 flight will now depart Abu Dhabi daily at 1410 and arrive in Mumbai at 1920. The return service will leave at 2135 and arrive back in the UAE capital at 2325. This is one of three daily flights Abu Dhabi offers to Mumbai, while its partner, Jet Airways, operates a further two.
The arrival of the double-decker jet means that Indian passengers are now offered Etihad’s latest cabin products, including the three-room Residence by Etihad. In total, the A380 can seat 496 passengers, including two in The Residence, nine in first class, 70 in business class and 415 in economy.
The expansion of Etihad’s A380 network will continue next month, with flights to Melbourne due to commence on 1 June 2016.