Gulf carriers to offer cheaper fares to India

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Both Emirates and Etihad unveil campaigns to offer competitive fares and greater connectivity to the sub-continent, respectively

Emirates and Etihad Airways have set sights on luring the Indian customer as both Gulf carriers unveiled plans for more competitive fares and greater connectivity, respectively.

The Dubai-based Emirates announced special fares across its 185 weekly flights to 10 destinations in India, with prices starting at Dh1,125 on Mumbai return flight in the economy class.

Flights to New Delhi are being offered at Dh1,185, while Chennai is Dh1,345; the featured fares run until December 28.

Emirates flies daily to major Indian metros, including New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Bengaluru, and more.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad is forging its India plans ahead of its Jet Airways alliance with the introduction of more flights into major cities, including Mumbai and New Delhi, along with increasing seat capacity with wide-body jets by year-end, and new routes next year, subject to regulatory approval.

This week, the carrier announced it would increase from daily to double-daily on its Abu Dhabi-Mumbai and Abu Dhabi-New Delhi flights, with November 1 being the date to more than triple the number of seats it now offers on those routes.

Etihad also unveiled plans to upgrade daily Abu Dhabi to Chennai flights from a 136-seat Airbus A320 to new Airbus A321, seating 174 passengers.

Subject to regulatory approval, Etihad also intends to codeshare on a wide range of flights operated within India via its Jet Airways alliance, offering greater connectivity to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

Specific details of new routes between Abu Dhabi and India and codeshare services with Jet Airways are expected to be unveiled as approvals are received and operational details are finalised, the airline said in a statement.

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said in a statement: “Following the recent signing of a new air services agreement between India and the UAE, we now have the opportunity to add significant capacity between the two countries, not only meeting existing demand for trade and tourist travel but also ensuring that we can meet the continued strong growth which is expected between our two countries.

“The big winners will be our passengers and freight customers and the economies of India and Abu Dhabi.”

By December 31, Etihad also plans to use wide-bodied Airbus A340-600 aircraft on one of the daily Abu Dhabi-Mumbai flights, offering first, business and economy classes; use wide-bodied Airbus A330-200 aircraft on one of the daily Abu Dhabi-New Delhi flights, offering business and economy class.

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