etihad airways predicts busy summer at home-base

Published May 31st, 2009 - 06:44 GMT

With the start of the summer period drawing near, Etihad Airways has taken the opportunity to advise its customers of the best ways that they can help the airline ensure that punctuality remains high during June, July and August.

So far this year, the Abu Dhabi-based airline has achieved consistently high levels of punctuality, with an average of 89 per cent of its flights taking off within 15 minutes of their scheduled time of departure. This represents an improvement of five percentage points on the same period in 2008, despite a 21 per cent increase in the airline’s flying schedule.

The travel tips offered by Etihad, via travel agents, advertising and on its website, include asking customers to prepare for all stages of the journey: at home, at the airport and when transferring. The aim is simple, to ensure flights take off on time and passengers reach their destination with the minimum of fuss.

Etihad also advises customers to use the online check-in on its website which is available 24 hours before the flight departs. In doing this customers can have a greater and better choice of seats as well as saving time at the airport.

Captain Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ chief operations officer, said: “The summer is the busiest period for any airline and Etihad Airways is anticipating 2009 to be our busiest ever, especially with the new Mediterranean destinations of Athens, Istanbul and Larnaca set to join our global flight network.”

At Abu Dhabi airport Etihad check-in desks open four hours before the flight departure and the airline recommends customers check-in no later than 90 minutes before departure. Check-in desks close 60 minutes before the flight takes off and the gate closes with 20 minutes to go.

Captain Hill added: “Whilst Etihad makes every effort to accommodate passengers on its flights, we have a duty to make sure the aircraft departs on schedule and, regrettably, any customers not adhering to check-in and boarding times will be prevented from travelling.”

Etihad will launch flights to three key European holiday destinations in June – Istanbul in Turkey Athens in Greece and Larnaca in Cyprus – bringing to 54 the number of global destinations on its network. A total of 900 weekly Etihad flights will operate this summer, a 20 per cent rise on the 750 weekly flights which operated during the same season in 2008.

Last year, the airline enjoyed its busy summer period to date with more than 1.6 million passengers flying onboard its flights during the months of June, July and August. Etihad also frequently surpassed carrying 20,000 passengers a day.

Captain Hill added: “Delivering good on-time departure and arrival punctuality performance is an integral part of delivering a good customer experience and Etihad is committed to doing everything within its control to get its flights away on time.

“Initiatives such as online check-in now make a huge difference for customers, especially families, as they can organise their seating the day before the flight reducing significantly the time they need to spend at check-in at the airport.”

Another popular travel option offered by Etihad are the Abu Dhabi and Dubai city check-in centres which allow customers to check their bags in and receive their boarding passes from convenient locations in each city.

Etihad Airways successfully completed its phased move into Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi airport earlier this year with flights to 32 of its destinations moving from Terminal 1.

The new terminal offers premium passengers state-of-the-art lounges with dining areas, a Six Senses Spa and personal computer facilities.

Flights which depart from Terminal 3 include Beijing, New Delhi, Johannesburg, Manchester, Toronto and Sydney as well as Athens, Larnaca and Istanbul from June.

The travel tips offered by Etihad, via travel agents and on its website, include asking customers to:

At home:

• plan their route to the airport, ensuring sufficient time is allowed to reach there
• check flight tickets, passport and visas (if required)
• check flight details, terminal travelling from and baggage allowance
• if available check-in in online at www.etihadairways.com

At the airport:

• travel light on the aircraft - keep hand baggage to a minimum
• arrive at airport in good time
• have passport and e-ticket reference (or paper ticket) handy and ready
• have passport and visa (if required) ready to present at immigration
• have passport and boarding pass ready to present at the gate
• have boarding pass ready to present to cabin crew when boarding aircraft
• check the seat number on your boarding pass
• stow your hand baggage as quickly as possible, take your seat and fasten your seatbelt
 
Transferring at Abu Dhabi airport:

• customers already issued with a boarding card for their connecting flight do not need to visit the transfer desk at Abu Dhabi airport
• customers in transit should ensure their watch is set to local time in Abu Dhabi
• customer are advised to check the status of their flight (departure time, boarding time, gate number) using the electronic flight display screens inside the terminal building
• customers transferring should aim to be at the departure gate no later than 45 minutes before departure time


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