Etihad Airways will launch flights on 1 August 2008 from its Abu Dhabi home base to Kozhikode (Calicut) and Chennai (Madras).
The airline will operate a daily service to both cities. Flight EY250 will depart Abu Dhabi at 11.35pm and arrive in Kozhikode at 5am the next day. Return flight EY251 will depart Kozhikode at 5.45am arriving in Abu Dhabi at 8am the same day.
The new Chennai service will operate as flight EY266 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, departing Abu Dhabi at 8.50am, arriving in Chennai at 2.30pm. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the service will operate as flight EY268, departing Abu Dhabi at 1.45pm and arrive in Chennai at 7.25pm.
Return flight EY267 will depart Chennai on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 3.15pm, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 5.45pm the same day. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the service will operate as flight EY269, departing Chennai at 8.20pm and arrive in the UAE capital at 10.50pm.
The coastal city of Kozhikode will be Etihad’s third destination in Kerala, to add to its successful flights to Kochi (Cochin) and state capital, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). Chennai is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal and is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The addition of the two new cities brings the number of Indian destinations served by Etihad to six and follows successful bi-lateral talks between the governments of the UAE and India, aimed at further liberalising flying links between the two countries.
These talks also saw Etihad awarded traffic rights to two further cities in India, Kolkata (Calcutta) and Jaipur. The airline is finalising the launch dates for these additional destinations.
Etihad currently operates 28 flights a week from the UAE to India, with flights from Abu Dhabi to the commercial capital Mumbai, the national capital New Delhi and also Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and Kochi (Cochin) in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
Subject to governmental approvals, the airline is pushing to secure further traffic rights from Abu Dhabi to Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Etihad will operate a two class Airbus A320 on both the Kozhikode and Chennai routes configured to carry 140 passengers with 20 in business class and 120 in economy class.