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Etihad Air launches flights to Mumbai

September 29, 2004 17:02 IST

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has launched its daily services to Mumbai and plans to start thrice-a-week flights from Abu Dhabi to Delhi from December.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline is also due to recruit 200 Indian cabin crew in phases in the next couple of years to meet its expansion plans.

"We plan to take in 20-30 Indian crew next week," Area General Manager (South-East Asia) Charles Phelps-Penry said in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The airline, which was launched in November last year, has introduced a daily Airbus A330 flight to Mumbai from December 26, its 11th destination, and plans to start services to South Indian destinations by next year.

"We are launching services to Delhi from December one and subject to availability of capacity would operate additional flights during the winter under the open sky policy," Kevin Steele, head of world sales, said.

Describing India as a major market, Steele said it was growing at 25 per cent per annum and was the fastest-growing market globally.

Steele said Etihad, which has interline agreements with 110 airlines, has no plans for introducing a low-cost carrier and was willing to take on the competition with their product.

Etihad, which presently operates with six leased planes, has placed an order for 24 Airbus and five Boeing 777-300s (extended range) worth $7 billion for deliveries in the next two years.

It aims to have a fleet of 50 planes by 2010 to fly to 60 destinations, Steele said.

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