Etihad to make the most of Abu Dhabi’s US pre-clearance to attract more Indian travellers


CHENNAI: Come September and Etihad will faucet into the enormous demand for journey between India and America in a giant means. While the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub, Zayed International Airport, has for years had US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility that lets flyers clear US immigration and customs there itself (thereby skip lengthy queues on arrival), it’s making some massive adjustments to get a much bigger pie of the profitable India-US market.
The Zayed Airport just lately bought a brand new terminal. The US CBP is at present housed in the outdated terminal. “This September the CBP will move to the new terminal that will, among other things, have a dedicated first and business class lounge especially for pre-cleared (to US) passengers. Also we have deepened our partnership with two US carriers — American Airlines and Jet Blue. So our pre-cleared passengers will get seamless connections to 70 cities in the shortest possible time starting at 45 minutes after flying into the US on our flights. The baggage will also be through checked-in to the final destination there with passengers not required to collect them in the first port of arrival in the US. Ditto on the way back,” Arik De, Etihad’s chief income & business officer, advised TOI.
“With all the checks out of the way before you take-off, you can simply pick up your bags and go when you land in the US. Abu Dhabi has only CBP facility in the Middle East,” he added. Etihad at present flies to New York (JFK), Chicago, Boston and Washington. It plans to double its US presence earlier than the finish of this decade. With its pre-clearance USP, Etihad is eying the India market in a giant means for filling up its flights to and from the US — a market the place neighbours Emirates and Qatar Airways are each very sturdy in.
The airline is amongst the uncommon Gulf carriers that also has room, learn bilaterals, for more flights to India. “Abu Dhabi has 50,000 seats per week to India of which along with Air Arabia Abu Dhabi about 42,000 seats are being used. We are increasing flights to Bengaluru (going from 14 to 18 weekly); Kolkata (going to 7 to 8 weekly) and starting four times weekly to Jaipur on May 16. The next round of expansion in India will be in January-March 2025 when we get more planes,” mentioned Kolkata-born De, who’s amongst the first Indian origin professionals to rise to high positions at a number one Gulf provider.
Etihad is making more adjustments to attract more Indian passengers. For occasion, he has modified one thing a majority of Gulf carriers don’t do — they don’t take meals from India for his or her flights again dwelling as meals for each the route to India and again are uplifted at their hubs solely. “Of the 11 cities in India that we fly to, meal is being uplifted from 8-9 of them in India only now. That ensures we serve fresh meals to passengers from India to Abu Dhabi,” mentioned De, who was a Swiss nationwide by delivery and is now a Canadian.
Etihad has 5-6,000 crew members, of which 30% are Indians. “Our top three nationalities for cabin crew are Indians, Moroccans and Romanians.”
He doesn’t see the lengthy haul plans of IndiGo — which has ordered extensive our bodies now — and the development of Air India as a problem to Etihad. “A country of over 1.3 billion people with a booming economy, India certainly will have its own big airlines. There will always be market for both the nonstop product (that AI offers far and wide and IndiGo will offer from next year). For example, Mumbai-London has nonstops from AI, Vistara, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Yet we have 12% market share on that route,” De mentioned.
Etihad at present has 90 plane. It goals to have a fleet of 165-170 planes — virtually as many extensive and slim our bodies — by 2030.

Nilesh Desai
Nilesh Desai
The Hindu Patrika is founded in 2016 by Mr. Nilesh Desai. This website is providing news and information mainly related to Hinduism. We appreciate if you send News, information or suggestion.


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