Etihad Airways will operate a reduced network of scheduled passenger services through May and June, if the present UAE-government imposed travel restrictions are lifted.
The airline hopes to gradually return to a fuller schedule as and when the global situation improves and is currently operating a 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 repatriated almost 600 UAE nationals on return services.
“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,” says Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group. “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.”
Currently, Etihad Airways 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 belly-hold cargo services to several destinations worldwide.
Etihad Airways has also revised the launch date of its inaugural service to Vienna from May 22 to July 1.