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Etihad outlines plan to re-start reduced network from May 1


Etihad Airways has provided an update on its current and planned operations as COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place around the world.

Subject to UAE government imposed travel restrictions being lifted on passenger travel, Etihad plans to operate a reduced network of scheduled passenger services from May 1 to June 3, with the aim of gradually returning to a fuller schedule as and when the global situation improves.  

The carrier is also continuing to operate a growing schedule of special passenger flights allowing foreign nationals in the UAE the opportunity to travel out of the country, and to carry essential bellyhold cargo such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies.

To date, the airline has also repatriated almost 600 UAE nationals on return services. 

Etihad Aviation Group CEO, Tony Douglas, said: “The term ‘unprecedented’ is currently the most used in our industry, and the most appropriate.

The monumental challenges being faced by all airlines, and our customers, have been beyond measure. However, we remain cautiously optimistic and will push ahead with our plans to resume normal flying, while striving to better serve and support our customers and our employees. 

While the intention is to assume a ‘business as usual’ approach to the restart of our operations, the aviation landscape has changed, and how it will look month by month is difficult to predict.

“This has necessitated a fundamental shift in focus for us. However, the cumulative gains achieved by our ongoing transformation, and the unwavering support of our shareholder, has left us in a relatively strong position to withstand any instability.

“We will pivot on this and act with agility to seize opportunities we may not have previously considered.

We are implementing a series of network-wide route and fleet efficiencies, while conducting an extensive brand study and trialing new service concepts in our guest experience proposition.

“We are also using this time to drive further internal improvements in the efficient use of automation and technology across all areas of the business, while maintaining productivity, creativity and quality.”

Network and Fleet 

Currently, Etihad is using 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 777-300ER passenger aircraft, with five more ready for service, to complement its operational fleet of five 777-200F freighters.

These aircraft are providing scheduled and special passenger and bellyhold cargo services to several destinations worldwide.

Since March 25, approximately 500 special passenger, freighter and cargo flights have been operated. These include passenger and bellyhold freight flights to Amsterdam, Bogota, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jakarta, London, Manila, Melbourne, Tokyo, Washington DC and Zurich. 

The UAE based airline has revised the launch date of its inaugural service to Vienna from May 22 to July 1.

Etihad Cargo is now operating up to 100 turnaround flights per week to 32 destinations ofive continents. In addition to normal scheduled cargo services, special freighter and humanitarian flights have been flown to a number of destinations across the globe.


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