Coronavirus: Etihad ticketing is 'flexible' to meet concerns of travellers, says CEO Tony Douglas
Changes to ticketing policy at the UAE's national airline come as travel restrictions relating to Covid-19 take grip globally
Etihad Airways made changes to its ticketing policy due to the spread of the coronavirus and disruption to the travel industry globally, according to its chief executive.
“We’ve made a quite few changes to our ticketing policy because we understand the frustration and the concerns about travel plans at the moment,” Tony Douglas said in a video message released on Thursday.
“We put more flexibility for people to be able to change their travel dates.”
The comments come as the global travel industry suffers due to restrictions imposed by a number of countries following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The UAE has announced that all non-Emiratis will be suspended from entering the country from Thursday as part of measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus. Other countries around the world are also introducing similar measures, including Australia and New Zealand, who both announced a ban on all non-residents and non-citizens coming in.
“We are going to go absolutely out of our way to make sure that we can reassure you in how we can look after your travel needs,” Mr Douglas said.
“Obviously there are restrictions in place but what we want to do first and foremost is make sure we guide everybody to Etihad.com, which will contain all the latest travel restrictions and the latest information the dos and don’ts and how we can make your journey far more enjoyable.”
In response to the evolving situation, Etihad Airways has introduced Etihad Credit.
The new initiative allows travellers booking a flight to any country across Etihad's network to cancel tickets free of charge if travel plans change. The full value of the original ticket can then be used as credit towards a future flight booking.
Etihad Credit is available to anyone booking a flight before Tuesday, June 30. Rebooking can take place anytime up until Wednesday, September 30, for travel until the end of this year.
The coronavirus, the biggest challenge to the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis, has disrupted trade, the travel industry and rattled investors. At least $17tn ((Dh62.4tn) has been wiped from stock markets worldwide.
The number of global cases had topped 246,000 on Friday, with 88,000 recoveries and more than 10,000 deaths.
Etihad Airways continues to adjusts its flight schedules in response to the spread of the Coronavirus. Following guidelines provided UAE government and international regulatory authorities, the airline announced further changes to departures times out of Abu Dhabi. They include the following:
Ahmedabad (AMD), Bangalore (BLR), Calcutta (CCU), Calicut (CCJ), Chennai (MAA), Cochin (COK), Hyderabad (HYD), Delhi (DEL), Mumbai (BOM), Trivandrum (TRV): all flights suspended from 22 March until 28 March.
Reduced to one per week from 19 March until 31 March. All flights suspended from 1 April until 30 April.
Reduced to daily from 23 March until 30 April.
All flights suspended from 20 March until 30 April.
Reduced from twice-daily to daily from 29 March until 30 April.
Updated: March 26, 2020 10:40 AM