Etihad Airways is advising that subject to UAE government imposed travel restrictions being lifted on passenger travel, it plans to operate a reduced network of scheduled passenger services from May 1 to June 30, with the aim of gradually returning to a fuller schedule as and when the global situation improves.
Check out the video at https://youtu.be/hQJvLOStz3A
The carrier said that it is also continuing to operate a growing schedule of special passenger flights allowing foreign nationals in the UAE the opportunity to travel out of the country, and to carry essential belly-hold cargo such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies.
To date, the airline has also repatriated almost 600 UAE nationals on return services.
Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The term ‘unprecedented’ is currently the most used in our industry, and the most appropriate. The monumental challenges being faced by all airlines, and our customers, have been beyond measure. However, we remain cautiously optimistic and will push ahead with our plans to resume normal flying, while striving to better serve and support our customers and our employees.”
Douglas continued: “While the intention is to assume a ‘business as usual’ approach to the restart of our operations, the aviation landscape has changed, and how it will look month by month is difficult to predict. This has necessitated a fundamental shift in focus for us. However, the cumulative gains achieved by our ongoing transformation, and the unwavering support of our shareholder, has left us in a relatively strong position to withstand any instability. We will pivot on this and act with agility to seize opportunities we may not have previously considered.”
And he added: “We are implementing a series of network-wide route and fleet efficiencies, while conducting an extensive brand study and trialing new service concepts in our guest experience proposition. We are also using this time to drive further internal improvements in the efficient use of automation and technology across all areas of the business, while maintaining productivity, creativity and quality.”
Right now, Etihad is using 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 777-300ER passenger aircraft, with five more ready for service, to complement its operational fleet of five 777-200F freighters. These aircraft are providing scheduled and special passenger and belly-hold cargo services to several destinations worldwide.
Since March 25, approximately 500 special passenger, freighter and cargo flights have been operated. These include passenger and belly-hold freight flights to Amsterdam, Bogota, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jakarta, London Heathrow, Manila, Melbourne, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Seoul Incheon, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, Washington, D.C., and Zurich, with other destinations planned.
As well, Etihad has revised the launch date of its inaugural service to Vienna from May 22 to July 1.
Etihad also makes it clear, in its update, that its main priority is to provide continued support to its affected customers and the airline has introduced a range of travel waivers, solutions and benefits to help ease the burden the pandemic is having.
Customers who booked directly with the airline before Aug. 31, 2020, now have greater flexibility to change their bookings or to utilize generous value-added Etihad Credit where possible.
This credit will provide each customer with the value of their current unused ticket and up to US $400, plus up to 5,000 Etihad Guest Miles, for future travel.
Additionally, for tickets purchased directly from Etihad within Europe or the United States, a refund is also available if requested.
Etihad Guest, the airline’s loyalty program, is supporting members to retain and upgrade their Tier Status through a number of initiatives while they remain unable to travel during this period.
In addition to receiving the monthly bonus Tier Miles, members who achieved 80% of the qualifying requirements will be extended or upgraded for 12 months. Members who achieved less than 80% of the qualifying requirements will be extended for three months.
Etihad Guest Miles that expired in March and are due to expire in April or May, will be extended for three months for members who have been active with the program over the last 18 months.
Members can also donate their miles to charities including the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Emirates Red Crescent, who are supporting vulnerable refugees impacted or at risk as a result of COVID-19.
Said Douglas: “There have been lessons to be learned. In the early days of this pandemic, the disruption created by border closures and subsequent cancellations meant we were unable to effectively deal with the disruption our customers faced, despite our best efforts. We are tremendously pleased that we now have generous and considerate solutions that will undoubtedly deliver tangible benefits to them today, and when the time is right for them to travel again.”
And he concluded: “The invaluable loyalty of our customers, our travel trade partners, and a phenomenal workforce which has continued to go above and beyond, despite taking temporary reductions in salary, will guarantee the security and continuity of the UAE’s great national airline.”
Go to https://youtu.be/hQJvLOStz3A to check out Douglas’ video.