Etihad Airways has experienced one of the busiest travel periods in the history of the airline with 291,518 guests flying across its global network during Eid-Al-Fitr, an increase of 12 per cent on the 260,641 guests flown in the same five day period in 2014.
The load factor out of Abu Dhabi during this period rose from 82.1 per cent in 2014 to 82.3 per cent in 2015, with a network-wide seat factor of 78.3 per cent. The airline operated 83 more flights out of the hub than during Eid-Al-Fitr in 2014.
In anticipation of the demands that the peak summer period brings, Etihad Airways and its Abu Dhabi airport partners prepared and implemented a number of key initiatives at the hub to manage the busy flight schedule.
These initiatives included amending the flight schedule to improve connectivity, the provision of complimentary coach and bus services, additional baggage allowances and Etihad Guest miles for early and off-peak check-in, as well as the deployment of 100 extra ground staff.
Capt. Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ Chief Operations Officer, said: “We’re pleased to have once again carried record numbers of guests and baggage across the Etihad Airways network during Eid-Al-Fitr, one of the busiest and most challenging periods in the year.
“Managing such significant traffic volumes in such a short period was the result of major advance planning and involved hundreds of Etihad Airways’ staff working around the clock to support the operation in Abu Dhabi and around the world.”
More than 100 additional Etihad Airways staff members were temporarily recruited from across the organisation to assist guests at check-in and at boarding gates, and cabin crew offered Iftar and Eid-Al-Fitr refreshments to those at check-in, security, and immigration.
Among the special initiatives aimed at improving the guest experience was an off-peak check-in at Abu Dhabi airport, with more than 3,100 guests taking advantage of the service which operated every day between 1am and 6am and 1pm and 6pm.
Guests checking-in during these off-peak periods received an Etihad Guest voucher worth 2,500 miles, as well as 5kg additional baggage, and a free one hour SkyPark parking pass to use during the process.
Many guests also accessed the Abu Dhabi City Terminal and the Al Ain facility to check in, receiving an additional 5kg of checked baggage in the process. Guests checking-in at the Etihad Travel Mall in Dubai also received an additional baggage allowance.
Many guests also used the complimentary coach and bus services from the three locations going to Abu Dhabi airport.
In advance of the summer season, the gate setups in Terminal 1 and 3 were redesigned to improve the boarding process. Additional seating was also installed at the gate to provide a more comfortable layout for guests.
To assist guests of Etihad Airways and its strategic partner, Jet Airways, travelling to India, a new jointly branded India check-in area was introduced a few months ago into Terminal 1 allowing for 24/7 check-in.
A permanent family check-in area has also been created in Terminal 3 and is available for guests of Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia, Air Serbia and Air Seychelles who are travelling with babies and infants.