James Hogan, president and CEO, Etihad Airways met the Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, to reaffirm the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s commitment to the Indian state and its capital Mumbai. Hogan, accompanied by Vijay Poonoosamy, the airline’s vice president, international and public affairs and Neerja Bhatia, general manager– India, met chief minister Fadnavis at his official residence in India’s commercial capital.
During the meeting, the CM outlined the priorities of the state, identifying areas of mutual interest and opportunities for Etihad Airways to support economic growth. The CM and Hogan discussed new areas of collaboration between Maharashtra and Etihad Airways, especially in tourism and cargo exports. In turn, Hogan gave CM Fadnavis an introduction to Etihad Airways, its operations into India and the significant benefits that come from the airline’s commercial and strategic partnership with Indian carrier, Jet Airways, for both India and Jet Airways.
Etihad Airways and Jet Airways together operate more than 220 flights between India and Abu Dhabi each week, including five daily flights from Mumbai and a daily flight from Pune.
Hogan also made the CM aware that Etihad Airways carries more business and leisure travellers into India than it takes out. In 2014 the number of flights to India, purchased in Europe, the GCC, and United States, rose by 65 per cent compared to the previous year. In the first six months of 2015 Etihad Airways transferred more than 235,000 guests onto Jet Airways’ network into India through its codeshare partnership, with Jet Airways providing 182,000 guests onto the Etihad Airways network.
Etihad Airways was also the first foreign airline to invest in an Indian carrier under the current FDI policy of India, making a USD750 million investment which includes a 24 per cent equity stake in the airline. Etihad Cargo carries more than 1,200 tonnes of Indian products and exports to key markets in Europe, US and the Middle East each week and operates a dedicated freighter operation from Mumbai.
Relations between the UAE and India continue to build with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to visit the United Arab Emirates on August 16-17, 2015.