What has been the response since the launch of your daily route to New York?
The response has been very positive. New York has been underserved in the past, with no non-stop service between Abu Dhabi – and we are now able to link Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE with one of the world’s most important commercial and cultural centres.
Our Diamond and Pearl Zone product provides superior facilities suited to the business traveller.
Have your learnings with Toronto helped in your launch of this new route?
Operationally, our experience in Toronto was helpful in our launch. However, the Canada market is very different from the USA market.
What is passenger load factor on the new route?
Our goal is to maintain a 70 per cent load factor on the route.
Are you working with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority to increase inbound tourism from the US market?
Yes. Greater market awareness and visibility is needed to develop inbound business and tourism from the American market. The Middle East region is changing fast and Etihad Airways sees itself as the international bridge linking Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, with the rest of the world. In the next nine years Abu Dhabi is making a staggering investment of $136 billion in the development of its business and tourism assets. Investment just in tourism projects alone in the next 10 years is expected to be worth $ 11 billion.
What about plans to launch routes to new destinations in the US?
Our new fleet of modern, purpose-built aircraft continues to arrive and we are looking to consolidate across the network with increased frequencies on existing destinations, and more new routes. New York was our 35th destination, launched last October. Since then we have launched and announced new routes to Tehran, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney and Dublin. We are still growing at a phenomenal rate and we will continue to launch new routes in the future.
What’s on offer for passengers in the future?
We’re always introducing special offers for our passengers, who usually become aware of details through various promotional activities, reviewing our website (www.etihadairways.com/usa) or by calling their local travel agent.
What are your offerings for travel agents down the line?
We currently pay eight per cent commission to all ARC agents. There are special incentives in place for certain contracted agents and we are considering introducing a special travel agent fare in the future.