Etihad to resume more services
Etihad Airways is gradually resuming services to more destinations across its network. This follows the easing of travel restrictions by UAE regulatory authorities on outbound and inbound travel for citizens and residents. Dubai has just reopened to travellers on 7 July but Abu Dhabi remains closed. Hopefully, Etihad ramping up flights is also a sign that Abu Dhabi may open soon.
Throughout July and August, subject to the lifting of international restrictions and the re-opening of individual markets, the airline plans to fly to 58 destinations worldwide from its Abu Dhabi hub. These will include major gateways in the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
The return to a larger network of international flights will be greatly supported by the Etihad Wellness sanitisation and safety programme, which ensures high standards of hygiene are maintained at every stage of the customer journey. This includes specially trained Wellness Ambassadors, a first in the industry, who have been introduced by the airline to provide essential travel health information and care on the ground and on every flight.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “We are delighted to announce the gradual expansion of normal scheduled services to more cities across our global network. The easing of restrictions on travel to and from the UAE is an important first step and a great development for Abu Dhabi. By August we aim to operate approximately 45 per cent of our pre-COVID capacity.
“While we have continued to operate a schedule of special passenger, cargo and humanitarian flights over the last few months, the priority is now to build the network back up on markets that have opened up, and to provide a secure and hygienic flying environment across the entire guest journey.
“Over the last few months, we have seized every opportunity to improve our processes, review our product offering, and to undertake the biggest fleet maintenance programme in our history. We are tremendously grateful to our customers and partners for their continued loyalty.”
Subject to the applicable government approvals, Etihad’s summer schedule will feature a wider network and increased frequencies to the following destinations from, to, or via Abu Dhabi:
North America: Chicago, New York JFK, Toronto, Washington, D.C.
Europe: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Belgrade, Brussels, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul, London Heathrow, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Rome, Zurich
Middle East & Africa: Amman, Bahrain, Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca, Kuwait, Muscat, Rabat, Riyadh, Seychelles
Asia: Ahmedabad, Baku, Bangkok, Bengaluru, Chennai, Colombo, Delhi, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Jakarta, Karachi, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Kuala Lumpur, Lahore, Male, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore, Thiruvananthapuram, Tokyo
Australasia: Melbourne, Sydney
Finnair to move into T5 at Heathrow
Brace yourselves – the days of the Heathrow T3 oneworld lounges may be gone for a while! A reader recently let me know that his future flight on Finnair was showing it departing from T5. With American Airlines already moving into T5, this seemed likely to be true. Having looked into it, it is currently planned that Finnair will move into T5 around 25 July.
This will lead to an interesting situation with the lounges. With only the South lounges open and mainly only the First lounge, it may well end up getting crowded given the need to maintain social distancing. It could be that BA decides to open further lounges sooner than we might expect to accommodate the other airlines.