Etihad has announced plans to restart passenger flights

Siobháin Spear
Apr 16, 2020

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

April 16: In recent days, Etihad has added to its list of outbound repatriation flights. Now, in a positive step forward, the airline has issued a statement to outline its planned operations once travel restrictions have been lifted. Subject to UAE government-imposed restrictions being lifted on passenger travel, Etihad plans to operate a reduced network of scheduled passenger services from 1 May to 30 June.

Etihad plans to restart flights from May

With the aim of gradually returning to a fuller schedule as and when the global situation improves, Etihad plans to restart flights on a reduced schedule between May 1 and June 30 before returning to its full operations.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, 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.”

Etihad’s current flight schedule

Etihad is is 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 belly-hold cargo such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies. To-date, the airline has also brought home 600 UAE nationals from around the world.

Since 25 March, approximately 500 special passenger, freighter and cargo flights have been operated. These include passenger and belly-hold freight flights to Amsterdam, Bogota, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jakarta, London Heathrow, Manila, Melbourne, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Seoul Incheon, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, Washington, D.C., and Zurich. The airline says it also has other destinations planned.

The airline continues to operate multiple cargo flights in addition to its repatriation flights for impacted residents and visitors.

Commenting on the learnings from the coronavirus outbreak so far, Douglas said, “there have been lessons to be learned. In the early days of this pandemic, the disruption created by border closures and subsequent cancellations meant we were unable to effectively deal with the disruption our customers faced, despite our best efforts. We are tremendously pleased that we now have generous and considerate solutions that will undoubtedly deliver tangible benefits to them today, and when the time is right for them to travel again.

“The invaluable loyalty of our customers, our travel trade partners, and a phenomenal workforce which has continued to go above and beyond, despite taking temporary reductions in salary, will guarantee the security and continuity of the UAE’s great national airline,” concludes Douglas.

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