The United Arab Emirates’ second flag carrier, Etihad Airways, announced it would be suspending its flights between Abu Dhabi and South Africa for several months.
Etihad Airways began flying to South Africa more than 10 years ago by operating direct flights to Johannesburg. The airline flies to a wide network of global destinations via its hub in Abu Dhabi.
ETIHAD SUSPENDS FLIGHTS FOR A SEASON
Etihad will suspend flights between the city of Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg for several months during the northern hemisphere winter season, ie the South African summer season.
A local spokesperson for the airline told Travel News this was due to the current slump in demand from passengers.
“Due to the continued impact of COVID-19 on global travel, a number of Etihad routes to and from Abu Dhabi remain suspended throughout the winter 2020/2021 season,” the Etihad spokesperson said.
ETIHAD TO CLOSE SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICE
The airline busy closing its South African office in Johannesburg, with the Sandton-based office to shut its doors at the end of December. Etihad Airways has also terminated the contracts of local employees, the spokesperson told Travel News.
The termination of Etihad Airways’ local employee contracts and the closing of its South African office could be an indication that the airline does not intend to return to the country after the winter 2020/2021 season.
ASSISTANCE TO ETIHAD PASSENGERS
Etihad Airways is in the process of notifying passengers that hold reservations for its flights from South Africa. Etihad is also accommodating passengers on airlines that are operating scheduled flights to South Africa.
“Etihad is working closely with impacted guests to notify them of the change to their itineraries and to re-accommodate them on alternative flights.”
OPTIONS FOR AFFECTED PASSENGERS
Etihad has indicated it is trying to be flexible in assisting affected passengers. The airline will allow passengers to claim a refund or to be accommodated on flights with other airlines.
“Refunds are permitted for all future bookings with an original travel date on or after 1 October 2020, where any of the flights on the booking have been cancelled by Etihad.
“The airline is also providing flexible options for existing bookings.” Etihad Airways’ spokesperson said.
HOW TO MAKE CONTACT WITH ETIHAD AIRWAYS
Passengers who are affected by the suspension of flights are asked to make contact with their local Etihad Airways contact centre.
Contact details are available at www.etihad.com/contacts.
Etihad said it regretted any inconvenience caused by the continued suspension of the affected routes.