ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced more connections between India, the UAE and other key markets around the world, following a major service upgrade to Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kozhikode and Hyderabad this summer. Due to strong demand from business and leisure travellers, a double-daily frequency will be operated to Bangalore, Chennai and Kozhikode, and Hyderabad from Oct 1. As a result, travellers will have the option of daytime or overnight flights, and improved connections between India and key markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. The GCC comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Etihad introduced double-daily frequencies to Kochi last month, as well as to Mumbai and New Delhi in November 2013. The airline will utilise new Airbus A320s, scheduled for delivery this year, to accommodate much of the increased frequencies. Larger wide-body aircraft were also introduced on selected routes in November 2013, with a three-class A340 on overnight Mumbai flights, marking the debut of Etihad Airways First Class product on the route, and A330s on overnight Delhi flights. Kochi flights have also been upgraded with the recent introduction of new Airbus A321 aircraft, while overnight Delhi flights will be further enhanced with three-class Boeing 777 from 15 July. In addition to the seven existing or planned double-daily services, Etihad Airways operates daily to Ahmedabad, Trivandrum and most recently, Jaipur, where flights commenced in April 2014. “As one of the largest, fastest-growing and most exciting travel markets in the world, India continues to play an important role in our growth plans,” said James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways. “Last year alone, more than 885,000 people flew on our Indian services, a substantial increase of 20 percent on the previous year. As part of the expansion, Etihad Airways has placed its EY code on domestic services in India for the first time, with the code share agreement now including 31 Jet Airways routes from hubs in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore to regional centres in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Patna, Trivandrum and Vadodara. Also included are Jet Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, and Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mumbai, New Delhi and Trivandrum.