LONDON — Etihad Airways has announced that they will operate a fourth daily service between Abu Dhabi and Cairo using one of their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The current three daily flights are operated by Airbus A320s and A321s, citing increased demand on the route.
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Etihad Airways announced today that they will be placing a 787-9 Dreamliner on their AUH-CAI EY653/654 schedule. EY653 will depart AUH at 0935 local for an 1145 local arrival into CAI. EY654 will leave CAI at 1335 local and arrive at AUH at 1850 local. #AvGeek pic.twitter.com/koYej3aOGe
— James Field (@AvGeekJames) June 11, 2018
The schedule that is on offer from Cairo is used to offer seamless East-bound connections through AUH onwards into the Gulf, Indian Subcontinent, North and Southeast Asia as well as Australia.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways Executive Vice President Commercial, said: “Etihad Airways has been serving Cairo since 2004 and today it is one of the largest point-to-point markets on our global network, bolstered by the hugely important historic, economic, and cultural ties existing between the UAE and Egypt, and by the large Egyptian community in the Emirates, which numbers over 750,000. In 2017 Etihad carried almost half a million guests on our multiple daily flights to and from Cairo. The introduction of the state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner on the popular morning service from Abu Dhabi will provide guests with the latest innovation and technology, award-winning cabins, genuine hospitality and greater choice.”
These upgrades out of Cairo come following a partnership that was signed in April 2018 between Egyptair and Etihad which expanded their codesharing arrangements to include several African destinations such as Ndjamena, Khartoum, Entebbe as well as Dar es Salaam with other destinations such as Abuja, Kano and Asmara all waiting to be approved by the respective governments. Egyptair places its ‘MS’ code on EY flights operating from Abu Dhabi to Seoul, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, and hopefully subject to governmental approval, on flights to China.
The 787-9 in question features a two-class configuration, offering 28 Business Class studios as well as 271 Economy Seats. The route changes will be in effect by October 28th, 2018. They are as follows:
Flight Schedule Abu Dhabi – Cairo
Effective from October 28, 2018 (all times local):
|EY651||Abu Dhabi||03:10||Cairo||05:20||Daily||Airbus A321|
|EY650||Cairo||06:25||Abu Dhabi||11:45||Daily||Airbus A321|
|EY653||Abu Dhabi||09:35||Cairo||11:45||Daily||Boeing 787-9|
|EY654||Cairo||13:35||Abu Dhabi||18:50||Daily||Boeing 787-9|
|EY655||Abu Dhabi||14:35||Cairo||16:45||Daily||Airbus A320|
|EY656||Cairo||17:50||Abu Dhabi||23:15||Daily||Airbus A320|
|EY657||Abu Dhabi||21:45||Cairo||23:50||Daily||Airbus A320|
|EY658||Cairo||00:50||Abu Dhabi||06:15||Daily||Airbus A320|
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An Increase in Cairo, Followed by the Downgrade in Dhaka
It is quite evident that with Etihad Airways currently hemorrhaging money after the demise of Alitalia and Air Berlin, Etihad is now bringing their costs down even more by reducing flights to Dhaka and other destinations and repositioning aircraft on the more popular routes.
However, this may be something that the carrier might not do for long as the more routes they cut, the more aircraft they are either going to have to reposition or put in storage/sell in order to keep their operations efficient and successful.
Ultimately, the lack of investment that Etihad is now placing into carriers and just focusing on the codesharing agreements is possibly the better solution for the airline to take. Establish partnerships rather than acquisitions, and Etihad can then further connect Abu Dhabi with other destinations across the world without having to spend even more money trying to acquire majority stakes in an airline.