ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has doubled its network in the US within the last 12 months with the addition of flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, its sixth destination.
The airline has introduced three nonstop flights per week between Dallas/Fort Worth and Abu Dhabi, with plans to launch daily services.
Speaking at a US-UAE Business Council lunch in Dallas/Fort Worth, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, said the US was important for the airline because it was the largest aviation market in the world and the UAE was the largest export market for the US in the Middle East region.
Mr Hogan said: “Linking Dallas/ Fort Worth with the strategically important and rapidly growing markets in the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent will help to deepen the strong commercial, trade and cultural relationship between the US and the UAE.
“The two-way connections offered by this service will benefit the oil and gas sector and technology sectors, as well as the 20 Fortune 500 companies based in Dallas/Fort Worth and the 52 Fortune 500 companies based in Texas,” he said.
Destinations in the Gulf States with two-way connectivity include Bahrain, Doha, Kuwait, Muscat and Saudi Arabia.
Key connecting markets in the Indian Subcontinent include Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In partnership with Jet Airways, Etihad Airways offers access to a large Indian market with more than 200 weekly flights to 14 destinations in India.
Dallas/Fort Worth is the 17th largest U.S. port for trade with the UAE, with total trade growing from $68 million in 1999 to $363 million in 2012. The city is also the largest and most important hub for American Airlines, the main US codeshare partner of Etihad Airways.
Mr Hogan said that while expanding the Etihad Airways network in the US, the airline was also continuing to invest in US companies and know how.
“At 2014 list prices, the total value of Boeing jets we have received or have on order is US$36.5 billion. Based on US Government calculations, this represents almost 210,000 US aerospace jobs.
“We also have options and purchase rights for in excess of 30 more aircraft, which if exercised will further strengthen our contribution to the economy,” he said.
Etihad Airways has selected US made GE engines for all its Boeing aircraft, while other US suppliers manufacture aircraft seats, onboard equipment and provide inflight entertainment systems.