Etihad sets Eid record with more than 180,000 passengers
Etihad Airways reported its busiest Eid Al Fitr ever as it operated flights to near full capacity across its network.
Between Thursday and Sunday, it carried 181,333 passengers, with the rush peaking on Saturday. The passenger load was a 36 per cent increase over the four-day period at the end of Eid last year, according to the airline. The UAE’s public sector had a nine-day Eid break while those in Saudi Arabia had the longest at 12 days.
In terms of the number of passengers carried, the busiest routes on Etihad were Bangkok, London, Manila, Manchester and Kuwait.
The load factor during the period rose to 88.1 per cent from 79.3 per cent a year earlier. The first class load factors rose by 6.1 percentage points, business class by 12.1 and economy class by 8.6 per cent.
The route that flew nearest to full capacity was Melbourne, with a load factor of 98.6 per cent. Other destinations in the top five were Rome, Sydney, Toronto and Manila – all above 95 per cent.
Abu Dhabi International airport, too, was busier, with an 18 per cent increase in the number of flights compared with last year, a spokeswoman said.
Last month, to meet the increased demand expected during of Eid, the airport opened 20 boarding bus gates at terminal 3 – dedicated to Etihad flights – taking the total number of the bus gates to 66. It also opened six stands for wide-bodied aircraft and added extra X-Ray machines.
Emirates Airline and flydubai also reported strong demand from passengers during the period.
“In terms of flights departing the UAE, we’ve seen particularly strong demand for Europe and destinations such as Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich and Istanbul,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president for commercial operations. “We’ve also seen increased seasonal activity on our west coast US routes and on flights to Bangkok and Brisbane.”
Flydubai reported an increase in inbound and outbound passenger numbers during the holiday week. Istanbul, Beirut and Colombo were among the popular destinations with most of the flights fully booked.
“Passengers from Dubai continued to travel to popular destinations such as Colombo, Maldives, Istanbul and Bucharest,” said a flydubai spokesman. “We also experienced an increase in passengers travelling to Dubai from the Gulf.”
On Tuesday, Etihad and Marriott said they plan to start sharing their loyalty programmes from August 15. Customers will be able to redeem Marriott Rewards Points for Etihad flights and Etihad Guest Miles for stays at Marriott hotels.
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Published: August 5, 2014 04:00 AM