Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is celebrating 15 years of service in India.

Etihad launched daily flights between the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and the Indian city of Mumbai in September 2004, within the airline’s first year of operation.

Currently, Etihad operates 159 return flights per week between Abu Dhabi and ten key Indian gateways: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram. Through its Abu Dhabi hub, the airline connects each of these gateways to international destinations throughout the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Since launching operations to the sub-continent, Etihad has carried more than 16.5 million passengers on its Indian routes.

Tony Douglas, chief executive officer of the Etihad Airways group, said, “India and the United Arab Emirates share a long economic, cultural and diplomatic relationship, and Etihad Airways connects these nations to each other. We serve more destinations in India than any other country in our network.”

Etihad Guest, the airline’s loyalty programme, recently partnered with SBI Card, to offer a unique travel-specific Visa credit card to Indian travellers.

The airline is increasing flights and adding newer aircraft, including its latest addition, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which serves cities including Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.

By Namrata Bhandari