Etihad Expands Flight Services to India by Introducing 2 New Routes

Radhika Bansal

04 Jan 2024

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has introduced two new services to the Indian state of Kerala with daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram commencing on New Year’s Day. These non-stop services to each destination bring the total number of Indian gateways served by Etihad to 10, underscoring the airline’s commitment to providing easy access to its expanding global network for guests travelling to and from the Subcontinent.

Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Etihad, said: “We have established a fantastic group of non-stop routes between India and Abu Dhabi, providing customers with easier access to our growing network without transiting through one of the main Indian hub airports. Seamless and practical connections at Abu Dhabi ensure that our guests can easily access destinations across the GCC, and Europe – including our four daily services to London – and North America. Moreover, they have the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic stopover in Abu Dhabi as an integral part of their journey.”

The introduction of this service enhances accessibility to the countryside and beaches that Kerala is renowned for, creating increased inbound tourism to the region. Additionally, it streamlines travel for professionals visiting the burgeoning business hubs in the area, a statement said.

From 1 January 2024, the airline commenced operating flights from Abu Dhabi to Kozhikode (CCJ) and Thiruvananthapuram (TRV). Until 30 March 2024, EY0248 will depart from Abu Dhabi to Kozhikode at 2.40 PM, whereas the return flight will leave Kozhikode at 9.30 PM. From 31 March 2024, until 26 October 2024, EY0249 will depart from Abu Dhabi at 2.20 PM and from Kozhikode at 9.40 PM.

Similarly, until 30 March 2024, EY0292 will depart from Abu Dhabi to Thiruvananthapuram at 3.20 AM, whereas the return flight will leave Thiruvananthapuram at 10.05 AM. From 31 March 2024, until 26 October 2024, EY0293 will depart from Abu Dhabi at 2.55 AM and from Thiruvananthapuram at 9.50 AM.

Etihad’s Market Expansion

In 2023, the airline reintroduced services to Kolkata, a vital Indian gateway connecting Eastern India to global destinations. Furthermore, the airline has increased the frequency of flights to Mumbai and Delhi, two of its most popular routes, from two per day to an impressive four flights per day.

For 2024, Etihad has already announced new flights to Boston, USA starting on March 31, to Nairobi, Kenya commencing on May 1, and its exciting summer schedule includes an inaugural non-stop service to Nice, France and direct flights to the Greek isles of Mykonos and Santorini.  

The travel demand between the UAE and India is rapidly recovering and demonstrating continuous growth. Indian travellers are increasingly drawn to luxury experiences, cultural exploration, and international destinations.

After a gap of almost four years, Etihad Airways, one of two flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has resumed operations at the Calicut International Airport. Etihad had suspended operations due to COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020. At that time, the airline had two daily flights servicing the airport and on some occasions four flights.

According to ch-aviation, Etihad first ordered the aircraft in November 2013, and it was seven years until it had its first flight in December 2020. The plane’s delivery was likely delayed until now due to the pandemic’s negative impact on the industry. Three slightly smaller 787-9s will also join the airline’s fleet this year.

Currently, Etihad has 29 active 787-9s and 10 larger 787-10s in its fleet, totaling 39 Dreamliners, according to ch-aviation. While the jets offer up to 25% more fuel efficiency than comparable aircraft of their size, they also provide ultimate comfort and luxury for passengers. All cabins onboard the aircraft come with premium amenities such as blankets, pillows, and amenity kits to ensure passengers stay comfortable on long-haul flights.

About Etihad

Founded in 2003, Etihad Airways is the national carrier of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, based at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Operating a fleet of narrow and wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, Etihad provides a rapidly expanding network of services within the Middle East and to Africa, Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. In addition to its core activity of passenger transportation, Etihad earns significant revenue from its cargo operation, Etihad Crystal Cargo. Etihad Airways forms part of the Etihad Aviation Group.

The airline operates more than 1,000 flights per week to over 120 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America, with a fleet of 102 Airbus and Boeing aircraft as of February 2020. In 2015, Etihad carried 14.8 million passengers, a 22.3% increase from the previous year, delivering revenues of USD 9.02 billion and net profits of USD 103 million. Its main base is Abu Dhabi International Airport.

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Air Transat Flight Attendants Reject Tentative Agreement

Abhishek Nayar

04 Jan 2024

In a surprising turn of events, Air Transat flight attendants have rejected a tentative agreement with the Canadian leisure carrier, creating a potential threat of a strike at the conclusion of the bustling holiday travel season. The union representing the 18,500 flight attendants cited dissatisfaction with the proposed raises, which failed to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Reasons for Rejection

One of the primary reasons behind the rejection of the tentative agreement was the perceived inadequacy of the proposed pay raises in light of the soaring living costs. With unions in various sectors, including aerospace, making significant strides in wage negotiations due to a tight labor market and escalating inflation, flight attendants are seeking better compensation to address their financial concerns.

Compensation for Boarding and Waiting Time

Flight attendants in both Canada and the U.S. are advocating for an end to the practice of not compensating them for the time spent during boarding and waiting at the airport before and between flights. This issue has become a focal point in negotiations, reflecting the evolving demands of the workforce in the aviation industry.

Negotiations and Potential Strike

Following the rejection of the tentative agreement by 98% of voting members in December, Transat and the union representing its 2,100-cabin crew are set to return to the bargaining table this week. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) confirmed that given the high level of dissatisfaction among members, there is a possibility of the union issuing a strike notice. Flight attendants had previously voted in late November to authorize a mandate allowing them to strike with 72 hours' notice.

Southwest Airlines' Similar Situation

The situation at Air Transat mirrors recent developments at Southwest Airlines, where flight attendants voted against a five-year contract that would have made them the highest-paid cabin crew in the industry. Similar to the Air Transat case, the rejected contract did not include compensation for boarding time.

Details of the Rejected Agreement

The rejected agreement offered pay increases of approximately 18% over five years. Notably, the proposed contract aimed to address the issue of compensation for time spent during boarding by paying flight attendants Canada’s hourly minimum federal wage of C$16.65 for such unpaid time, specifically ahead of continental flights. Currently, most flight attendants receive payment only for the duration when the aircraft is in motion, making this a contentious point in negotiations.


As Air Transat flight attendants and the airline return to the bargaining table, the aviation industry is closely watching the developments. The rejection of the tentative agreement and the looming possibility of a strike underscore the growing assertiveness of flight attendants in seeking fair compensation and better working conditions amid changing economic realities. The outcome of the negotiations will undoubtedly have implications for labor relations within the industry as a whole.

With Inputs from Reuters

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DGCA Imposes Record Fines on Airlines in 2023 for Safety Violations

Abhishek Nayar

04 Jan 2024

In a bid to enhance safety standards within the Indian aviation industry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took rigorous measures throughout the year 2023. The aviation regulator conducted a staggering 5745 surveillances, marking a significant 26% increase from the previous year. This intensified focus on surveillance underscores the commitment to ensure compliance and safety in the aviation landscape.

Surveillance Statistics & Enforcement Actions

During 2023, DGCA executed 4039 planned surveillances, 1706 spot checks, and night surveillances. These efforts are crucial in identifying and rectifying safety violations across airlines, aerodrome operators, approved organizations, and aviation personnel under regulatory control.

As a consequence of the surveillance findings, DGCA took a total of 542 enforcement actions in 2023, representing a substantial 77% surge compared to the previous year. These enforcement actions targeted non-compliant personnel, airlines, and other operators, emphasizing the regulator's commitment to upholding safety standards.

Noteworthy Enforcement Actions

Air India's Training Organization Suspension:

Air India faced a major setback with the suspension of its Approved Training Organization due to regulatory non-compliance.

Financial Penalties on Major Airlines:

Several leading airlines, including Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo, and SpiceJet, incurred financial penalties for various non-compliances.

IndiGo's Systemic Deficiencies:

DGCA fined IndiGo Rs. 30 lakh after discovering systemic deficiencies in the airline's documentation and procedures following a series of tail strikes in 2023.

Air India's Passenger Facilities Violation:

Air India faced fines totaling Rs. 40 lakh for not providing mandatory facilities to passengers and for a safety breach where a pilot allowed a friend into the cockpit during a flight.

SpiceJet's Pilot Training Issues:

SpiceJet received a Rs. 20 lakh fine, and the head of training was suspended for three months due to deficiencies in pilot training.

AirAsia India's Mandatory Exercises Non-Compliance:

DGCA fined AirAsia India Rs. 20 lakh after a surveillance operation revealed that mandatory exercises for the airline's pilots were not conducted during Pilot Proficiency Check/Instrument Rating check.


The record fines imposed by DGCA in 2023 reflect a concerted effort to maintain and enhance safety standards in the Indian aviation sector. The increased surveillance activities and stringent enforcement actions send a clear message that non-compliance with regulations will not be tolerated. As the industry evolves, regulatory bodies like DGCA play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers and personnel alike.

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Aviation Soars High: Outpaces Other Sectors in India's Retail Landscape

Abhishek Nayar

04 Jan 2024

In a recent Retail Consumption Trends report by CMS Info Systems, the aviation sector emerged as the top-performing industry in India, outpacing key sectors during the July-September period of the current fiscal year (Q2-FY24).

This report serves as a comprehensive macroeconomic indicator, shedding light on retail purchases based on cash transactions processed across 52,000+ organized retail touchpoints in India. The findings reveal intriguing insights into consumer spending trends and offer a glimpse into the economic recovery and growth patterns post-pandemic.

Aviation Sector Dominates Growth

The standout revelation from the report is the aviation sector's remarkable annual growth of 29.7% in Q2-FY24. This surge is attributed to increased travel demand, propelled by major events such as the Cricket World Cup. The impressive growth not only positions aviation as a key player but also underscores the resilience and adaptability of the industry in the face of challenging times.

FMCG and E-commerce Showcase Robust Growth

Following closely behind aviation, the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector experienced an annual increase of 26.2%, emphasizing sustained consumer demand for essential products. Meanwhile, the E-commerce sector continued its upward trajectory with a growth rate of 19.4%, reflecting the evolving shopping habits of consumers and the digital transformation of retail.

Hospitality, Jewelry, and Large Format Retail Sectors

While the hospitality sector witnessed a growth rate of 12.8%, indicative of a gradual recovery in travel and tourism, the jewelry sector posted a notable annual growth of 7.1%. This stands in stark contrast to a 4.6% decline in Q2-FY23, suggesting a resurgence in spending triggered by the wedding season and a rebound in post-pandemic demand.

The large format retail sector also experienced a commendable annual increase of 7.8% in Q2-FY24. This growth can be attributed to factors such as rising incomes, urbanization, and changing consumer preferences, indicating a shift towards organized retail formats.

Demographic Insights: SURU Takes the Lead

Analyzing consumer preferences through a demographic lens, the report highlights a shift in consumption patterns. While metro cities witnessed robust growth from Q2-FY23 to Q1-FY24, they were surpassed by semi-urban and rural areas (SURU) in H1 FY24. SURU demonstrated the fastest consumption growth at 9.2% year-on-year, fueled by improved discretionary spending and indicating positive trends in the rural economy.

Macroeconomic Indicators and Future Projections

The surge in retail consumption aligns with the 7.6% GDP growth in Q2-FY24, buoyed by easing inflation. Anush Raghavan, President of Cash Management Solutions at CMS Info Systems, anticipates even stronger consumption growth in Q3-FY24, especially in FMCG, e-commerce, and aviation sectors. This optimism is grounded in the observed macroeconomic indicators, suggesting a positive trajectory for India's retail landscape.


As the Retail Consumption Trends report unveils, the aviation sector's stellar performance in Q2-FY24 underscores its resilience and adaptability. The broader retail landscape, marked by robust growth in FMCG, e-commerce, and other sectors, paints a promising picture of India's economic recovery post-pandemic. With demographic shifts and positive macroeconomic indicators, the stage is set for continued growth and evolution in the country's retail sector in the coming quarters.

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Akasa Air Accelerates Growth with Fleet Expansion and International Plans

Abhishek Nayar

04 Jan 2024

In a significant stride towards its international ambitions, Akasa Air, backed by the Rakesh Jhunjhunwala group, has added two more planes to its burgeoning fleet. The latest addition includes the airline's first Boeing 737 MAX 8-200, reinforcing its commitment to expanding operations and venturing into international skies.

Fleet Expansion & CEO's Vision

Within a remarkable 17 months of commencing operations, Akasa Air's fleet has grown to 22 aircraft. This rapid expansion positions the airline to enter the international market, a move possible after reaching a 20-plane fleet. The airline plans to initiate international operations in the first half of 2024, with destinations including Doha, Kuwait, Riyadh, and Jeddah.

Vinay Dube, Founder and CEO of Akasa Air, expressed enthusiasm about the fleet additions, stating, "The additions to our fleet will help us bolster the strength of our operations as we expand our footprint and foray into international skies." Dube emphasized the airline's purpose of connecting people, places, and cultures, anticipating the ability to serve millions of global travelers in the coming months.

Current Operations & Future Expansion Plans

Presently, Akasa Air operates flights to 17 cities across India, holding a 4% market share. The airline's reach spans major cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, and more. The upcoming addition of four planes by March is expected to further augment its domestic presence.

Looking ahead, Akasa Air's Chief Commercial Officer, Praveen Iyer, revealed the airline's intention to order more planes for future expansion. In a December interview, Iyer hinted at an upcoming deal for approximately 150 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody planes. The order, set to be officially announced at Wings India, is speculated to include future purchasing options.

Industry Dynamics

While Akasa Air pursues its ambitious growth plans, it is noteworthy that other major players in the Indian aviation sector, including Air India and IndiGo, have made substantial plane orders in the past year. IndiGo, for instance, has ordered 500 planes, reflecting the competitive landscape and the robust potential perceived in the Indian aviation market.


Akasa Air's rapid ascent in the aviation industry is a testament to the promising opportunities in the Indian market. The airline's strategic fleet expansion, international foray, and future plane orders position it as a key player to watch. As the aviation landscape evolves, Akasa Air's growth trajectory adds a dynamic dimension to India's flourishing airline industry.

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Akasa Air Close to Finalising Order for 150 Boeing Aircraft at Wings India

Radhika Bansal

03 Jan 2024

Akasa Air is set to close an order for around 150 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody planes, two sources said, its latest bid to tap the travel boom in the world's fastest-growing aviation market.

Contract negotiations are ongoing and a deal is expected to be announced at Wings India, the country's largest civil aviation event scheduled for January 18-21, said the two sources familiar with the ongoing talks.

Akasa Air’s existing order book includes 76 Boeing 737 MAX planes. Akasa is India's newest airline and has garnered a market share of 4% since it started flying in 2022, against IndiGo's 60% and Tata Group airlines' combined 26%.

Its Chief Commercial Officer Praveen Iyer told the newspaper Business Line in December that Akasa planned to announce a three-digit aircraft order in early 2024, without sharing any details.

The first source said its new order for around 150 planes is likely to include some future purchasing options.

The airline currently flies only domestically, with a fleet of around two dozen planes. It was hit last year by the abrupt departure of about a tenth of its pilots and had warned it was flying less as a result, costing it market share. It has since said the issue is behind it.

Indian carriers are trying to keep pace with soaring demand for air travel which has surged post-COVID, sending industry records tumbling amid diminishing production slots even as plane manufacturers struggle to meet output goals.

IndiGo in June placed a record order for 500 Airbus narrowbody planes, eclipsing Air India's purchase of 470 combined jets from Airbus and Boeing earlier in the year.

Akasa's order will be another win for Boeing, which has been lagging behind Airbus in the fast-growing Indian market, where its other customers include SpiceJet and Air India Express.

Akasa Air's Market Presence

Akasa Air has its eyes firmly set on increasing its network this year. The airline currently operates in 17 cities across India – Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi, Guwahati, Agartala, Pune, Lucknow, Goa, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Bagdogra, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Port Blair. But it plans to grow by around 35% by the end of the next financial year. While a large part of this is likely to be Indian destinations, Akasa will soon also add several overseas locations to its network map to fuel the growth.

Both sources said Akasa's new plane order aims to fuel its domestic and international expansion, with the narrow-body Boeing planes being equipped to fly to nearby foreign destinations like Southeast Asia and the Middle East from India.

The airline will also start international services this year, with Doha, Kuwait, Riyadh, and Jeddah as the destinations in its first growth phase. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs in the highly lucrative but also very crowded India-Middle East sector.

(With Inputs from Reuters)