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Fri 13 May 2016 12:05 AM

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Etihad says India is key to future growth strategy

Senior exec says launch of A380 flights to Mumbai is 'further proof of its significance as a market'

Etihad says India is key to future growth strategy
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said on Sunday it will launch flights to Brisbane next week, its second destination in Australia. The airline is also increasing frequencies to Sydney from seven flights a week to 11 from March next year.

India will continue be a crucial part of Etihad Airways’ growth strategy contributing significantly to the airline’s global operations, a senior executive has said.

Speaking in Mumbai to mark the launch of Etihad's daily A380 service to India’s commercial capital, chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner said that the airline had stimulated competition, created thousands of jobs, helped drive inbound tourism, and connected India to the world.

“Bringing our flagship product to India is further proof of its significance as a market, and more importantly, our commitment to the country’s economy,” said Baumgartner.

“The importance of Indian partner Jet Airways and the contribution of the Etihad Airways/Jet Airways partnership to the Indian aviation industry, also cannot be underestimated,” he added.

He said the 63 percent growth in passenger traffic last year on both airlines to and from India was "the result of hard work and close cooperation to provide an appealing product to travellers".

During 2015, 3.3 million guests were carried between India and Abu Dhabi on the combined networks, carrying one in five travellers to and from India.

The airlines together operate 254 flights each week from 15 gateway cities across India to Abu Dhabi with connections to key destinations worldwide.

India is the third largest trading partner of the UAE with bilateral trade currently worth $60 billion and estimated to grow 60 percent over the next five years to $100 billion.

Baumgartner said that the airline’s partnership with India extended beyond just air services to promotional and sponsorship opportunities, including the Mumbai Indians and Lakme Fashion Week.

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