Mumbai, INDIA – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and strategic partner Jet Airways, India’s full-service premium international carrier, have signed a ground breaking agreement with the Government of Maharashtra to promote tourism to the western Indian state.
partnership will enable both airlines to capitalise on their strong links with
Maharashtra and further propel domestic and international arrivals into the
state capital Mumbai and beyond. It is the first time an Indian state has
signed a tourism collaboration agreement with the airline sector.
The Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri
Devendra Fadnavis presided over the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding
in Mumbai today. The agreement was signed by Smt.
Valsa Nair Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Government of
Maharashtra; Neerja Bhatia, Etihad Airways Vice President Indian Subcontinent;
and Jayaraj Shanmugam, Jet Airways Chief Commercial Officer. It followed months
of discussions between the leadership of both airlines and the state government
on exploring ways to work together to promote tourism.
Under the agreement, the three entities will pool marketing resources to
participate in travel-trade events in key international markets such as the UK
and the UAE; jointly promote ‘Destination Maharashtra’ through
advertising campaigns; and organise inbound familiarisation trips for media and
Airways and Jet Airways are key contributors to India’s thriving travel and
tourism sector carrying the biggest combined share of international traffic to
and from India with one in five travellers choosing either carrier.
Collectively, they operate five flights a day between Abu Dhabi – the
UAE carrier’s operational hub – and Maharashtra’s main international gateway of
Mumbai with domestic connections across the country. In addition, Jet Airways
flies daily between Maharashtra’s second largest city of Pune and Abu Dhabi.
Maharashtra, the third largest state in India, is one of the country’s most
popular tourist destinations. Mumbai ranks second after the Indian capital
Delhi in terms of first port of entry for foreign tourist arrivals into India,
and fifth in domestic tourist visits.
Commenting on the association, Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Honourable Minister of
Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, said: “We are honoured to welcome this
opportunity to strengthen our cooperation with Etihad Airways and Jet Airways.
This MoU is the beginning of a strategic partnership with two leading and most
important international airlines to attract as many international tourists as
possible. Together, we can create benefits for travellers and shareholders. Our
aim is to jointly put in place the best strategies and practices to increase
Maharashtra’s marketing footprint and position it as the most preferred
Smt. Valsa Nair Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary,
Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra, added: “This is a landmark
agreement that will provide valuable support for Maharashtra Tourism’s global
campaigns and marketing activities, as well as some of the industry’s most
important trade and business events. This unique and important partnership
between Maharashtra Tourism, Etihad Airways and Jet Airways will boost the
state’s image exponentially.”
James Hogan, Etihad Aviation Group President and Chief
Executive Officer, said: “Being part of one of the world’s largest economies,
Maharashtra has plenty to offer business and leisure travellers. We are
therefore delighted to expand our links to promote tourism to this vibrant
state, which we have been serving with dedicated flights for 13 years.
“This is the first time a state government in India has ventured into
such a tourism partnership with the airline industry, hence we appreciate the
opportunity to work with our strategic Indian partner Jet Airways on the
breakthrough agreement. Our combined operation with Jet Airways between Abu
Dhabi and Mumbai, complemented by Jet’s widespread domestic services, is
further testament to the importance of Maharashtra on our route map.”
Goyal, Jet Airways Chairman, added: “It is a moment of both pride and
honour that the Government of Maharashtra has chosen to join hands with Jet
Airways and our strategic partner Etihad Airways in this unique initiative of
leveraging our collective resources to strengthen travel and tourism to the
is Jet Airways’ home hub and the airline shares a warm and emotional bond with
Mumbai and the state of Maharashtra. We operate our highest number of flights
from the city and have always positioned and promoted Mumbai as the gateway to
the state and the country. Our mutual network represents a huge market that can
be potentially accessed in support of this initiative.”
is home to a diverse range of tourist attractions, from beaches, caves, forts,
wildlife, tiger reserves, national parks and hill stations, to monuments,
palaces, festivals, places of worship and adventure sports.
Mumbai, the international gateway to Maharashtra, is
the country’s financial hub and home to numerous museums, architectural heritage
and Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry in terms of movie production.
Jet Airways began operations from Mumbai in 1993, the airline has flown
millions of guests to and from its main hub over the past 24 years.
Mumbai was also the first Indian city to be served by Etihad Airways with the
launch of daily flights in September 2004. A second daily service was
introduced in November 2013, followed two years later by a third daily
frequency. Etihad Airways has carried more than two million guests on the route
over the past 13 years with key inbound markets including Abu Dhabi, London,
New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
Etihad Airways’ Indian network to and from Abu Dhabi covers 11
cities that also includes Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad,
Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. Jet Airways offers
the additional Indian cities of Pune, Lucknow, Mangalore and Goa to Abu Dhabi,
as well as numerous domestic connections.
During 2017, Jet Airways is scheduled to launch flights from
Kannur and Chandigarh to Abu Dhabi, subject
to appropriate regulatory approvals and completion of operational readiness at
Combined, both carriers operate over 250 flights
each week between Abu Dhabi and 15 Indian cities.