Last updated: 04:15 PM ET, Tue October 11 2016

Etihad To Increase Flights On American’s Home Turf

Airlines & Airports | American Airlines | Rich Thomaselli | October 11, 2016

Etihad To Increase Flights On American’s Home Turf

Photo courtesy Etihad Airways:

With the Open Skies Agreements still unresolved, the U.S. big three airlines remain in flux until a final decision is made – meaning the Gulf airlines can continue to add as many routes in America as they please.

Until then …

For the second time in four months, a Middle East-based carrier has moved in on a U.S. airline’s home turf.

Etihad today announced it will increase frequency on the route between Abu Dhabi and Dallas-Fort Worth – headquarters for American Airlines – in response to what Etihad says is heightened demand from guests traveling between the two cities.

Beginning Feb. 2, 2017, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will add four new flights each week on the route to support the existing Wednesday, Friday and Sunday services.

Etihad launched the non-stop route in December 2014, and will continue to operate a Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft featuring eight First Class seats, 40 Business and 191 seats in Economy Class.

“Since launching our Dallas-Fort Worth service less than two years ago, the response from our guests travelling between DFW and our home in Abu Dhabi and beyond has exceeded expectations. We are therefore delighted to further expand this service into a daily operation to meet strong market demand,” Kevin Knight, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, said in a statement. ““The increased frequency will provide greater convenience and more options to business and leisure travelers throughout the Texas region, and will also cater to the huge travel market from India and the subcontinent to and from our Dallas-Fort Worth gateway and beyond.”

The big three U.S. airlines have asked the Obama administration to review the Open Skies Agreements with the United Arab Emirates, home to Etihad and Emirates airlines, and with Qatar, home to Qatar Airlines. The U.S. alleges that the Gulf airlines have accepted more than $50 billion in government subsidies in the last 16 years.

Not only has the administration not taken final action on Open Skies, it has declined the big three’s request to freeze all new routes. The Gulf airlines have opened more than 20 new routes in the United States during the past two years, including Qatar offering new service between Doha and Atlanta – headquarters for Delta Air Lines.

READ MORE: Qatar Reignites Open Skies Debate With Atlanta Route

Etihad says the additional frequencies will also provide 96 tons of more cargo capacity each week to facilitate the movement of international freight to and from Dallas-Fort Worth.

Ironically, despite their vehement differences over the Open Skies Agreements and alleged subsidies, Etihad and American have a codeshare agreement – something Etihad is touting as one of the reasons why it increased its flights into and out of DFW.

“We are excited by the news that Etihad Airways will soon increase their service from Dallas-Fort Worth to Abu Dhabi to daily flights,” Sean Donohue, Chief Executive Officer of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, said. “This move shows the strength of the North Texas market for international business and leisure travel, and further demonstrates that a great amount of global business flows through DFW. We thank Etihad for their continuing partnership and their service to our customers, our region and our airport.”

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