Etihad Airways eyes more flights to PH
MANILA, Philippines - Etihad Airways is planning to increase the number of its flights to Manila, as it sees more Filipino tourists traveling to the Middle East and Europe.
James Hogan, Eithad president and chief executive, said the airline is looking to increase Abu Dhabi-Manila flight to thrice a day from the current two.
"There has been a tremendous outbound leisure market from the Philippines. I always believe that our product is better than other Asian carriers. We're seeing more travelers coming out of Southeast Asia and Australia," he said.
Hogan noted the number of Etihad passengers have grown significantly since it launched direct flights between Manila and Abu Dhabi in 2006. Etihad carried more than 2.3 million passengers with an average seat factor of approximately 86 percent in the last 7 years, making the Philippines one of its strongest markets.
"From a modest start of four weekly A330-200 flights in 2006, Etihad Airways now operates twice daily services to Manila with a larger Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. That's more than threefold growth in just seven years," he said.
Etihad is expected to compete with Philippine Airlines (PAL), which is planning to mount Middle East and European flights.
"The more entrants, the better because that stimulates activity and to have Philippine Airlines coming in to Middle East is certainly I endorse. We've been working with Philippines Airlines, we're partners... More traffic, more people would travel, and people will become more aware of Abu Dhabi, that's good for all of us. We feel that we will complement each other," Hogan said.
“We have to go back and ask for more [frequency] and we want to do that in cooperation with the national carrier [in the Philippines],” Hogan said.