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Etihad Cuts Key Bangladesh Route as Losses Mount

The trend of route map consolidation continues at Etihad as the airline announces more than $1.5 billion in losses, makes plans to defer new plane orders and says it will suspend service to Dhaka this year.

Etihad Airways says it will abandon the popular Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Dacca International Airport (DAC) route at the end of September. The airline began flights to the city in Bangladesh in 2006; the flight is the airline’s only existing service to the country.

“Along with our travel agency partners, we will work closely with impacted guests to notify them of the changes to their itineraries and re-accommodate them on alternative flights,” the UAE-based airline told The Bangladesh Daily Star in a statement this week announcing the move.

According to the newspaper, Etihad is among a handful of airlines to walk away from the capital city in recent months. Oman Air, Bangkok Airways and Thai Smile ended service to Dhaka last year. Etihad’s daily connections to dozens of destinations in Europe and North America made the Gulf carrier’s flights especially popular, but the luxury airline has been struggling to maintain its route map after a string of financial setbacks.

In April, the carrier announced it would scale back or drop service to dozens of destinations. Etihad has already cut service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Edinburgh Airport (EDI) and Perth Airport (PER). The airline has also cut flights and trimmed the number of premium cabin seats on a number of other routes.

According to Forbesthe airline lost a whopping $1.52 billion last year. Etihad officials blame rising fuel costs, lost investments in failed and failing regional airlines and an economic downturn in the region for the staggering shortfall. The 2017 losses are trumped by the previous year’s results which saw the carrier end 2016 nearly $2 billion in the red.

Reuters reported this week that the airline is in talks to defer at least some of the 25 Boeing 777X planes the company has ordered. The new aircraft are scheduled to enter service in 2020 with Etihad Airways named as the launch customer for the highly anticipated new Boeing jet planes.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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SUPERTRAVEL June 21, 2018

Yeah, it's kind of like Yogi Berra's old saying that "no one goes there anymore, it's too crowded."

LukeO9 June 19, 2018

"Etihad Airways says it will abandon the popular Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Dacca International Airport (DAC) route...." The route was so popular it created a loss.