Etihad begins Boston; the carrier’s North American & European network now comprises 32 destinations

AUH - BOS

Etihad Airways’ first flight was in November 2003. It ended up replacing Gulf Air, whose Abu Dhabi hub closed in 2005. Etihad first served Europe in 2004 with the launch of London Heathrow flights, with North America following in October 2005 with the start of Toronto.

North America capacity remains down by much more than Europe

According to Cirium schedules information, Etihad will have about 3.7 million one-way seats to the two continents in 2024. They have about 35% of the carrier’s total available seats. However, they have a much more important role than that, given how important connecting passengers is to the airline.

Etihad’s 2024 capacity is about 4% lower than it was in 2019, with both continents remaining below their previous record years. North America is much more affected (-20% versus 2017) than Europe (-8% versus 2019).

Etihad European / North American development

Twelve airports are no longer served

Using Cirium to examine Etihad’s North American and European networks shows that 12 airports have been removed, organised as follows by the final year of operation.

  • 2022: Heraklion
  • 2021: Moscow DME
  • 2020: Belgrade, Los Angeles, Minsk
  • 2019: Istanbul SAW
  • 2018: Dallas DFW, Edinburgh
  • 2017: San Francisco, Venice VCE
  • 2016: Larnaca
  • 2008: London LGW

In response to big losses, some of the cuts were due to downsizing to become a mid-sized airline. In doing so, it arguably moved away from being one of the so-called Middle East Big Three carriers, not that that matters in itself.

Thirty-two airports are served in Europe and North America this year

Etihad serves 27 airports in Europe and five in North America, as shown on the following map. The continents account for 42% of the airline’s total network. They include 11 destinations that have launched since 2021 and are still served:

Shannon AIrport
  • 2024: Boston, Antalya
  • 2023: Copenhagen, Lisbon, St Petersburg
  • 2022: Nice (resumes on 15 June 2024)
  • 2021: Malaga, Moscow SVO (replaced DME), Mykonos, Santorini, Vienna

Etihad network map 2024

London LHR is the top destination network-wide

Analysing Cirium schedules shows that London LHR is, to no one’s surprise, Etihad’s leading destination. Indeed, it is number one across its entire network. It joins New York JFK in being served by the A380.

When all equipment is considered, LHR has 4-daily Etihad flights in July. In comparison, Emirates serves the UK’s busiest airport from Dubai 7-daily (12 to all London airports). Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has 7-daily LHR departures (9 including partner BA), rising to 11 for all of London.

Top 10 Etihad Euroepan/North American airports

South Asia has half of Etihad’s passengers

Almost one in two of Etihad’s European/North American passengers travelled to/from South Asia last year, primarily because of India, by far the carrier’s most important nation. Etihad’s smaller network than Emirates and Qatar Airways means it is even more reliant on Indian traffic.

In total, Asia accounted for approximately 86% of Etihad’s European/North American transfer passengers. The Middle East was responsible for about 6%, Australasia 5% and Africa just 3%.

Athens International Airport