Etihad Airways named a founding member India-UAE Business Council

Mumbai: United Arab Emirates’ national carrier Etihad Airways on Friday said it has been named one of the founding members of the just inaugurated India-UAE Joint Business Council.

“India is a crucial market not only for Etihad Airways but the UAE itself and therefore we welcomed the opportunity to become a founding member of the UAE Business Council in India,” Etihad president and chief executive James Hogan said in a statement here.

“Our strategic partnership with Jet Airways means both airlines are now carrying greater numbers of business and leisure travellers between the UAE and India,” he added.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan inaugurated the council on Thursday, after they held the 11th session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting for Technical and Economical Cooperation in New Delhi.

Speaking at a bilateral business meet in New Delhi organised by industry chamber CII on Thursday, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimi said the fact that 1,000 flights per week connect both countries demonstrates the intensity of the relationship.

“The UAE leadership is committed to take our bilateral relationship to a new level of strategic co-operation,” she said.

UAE has an important place in India’s energy security as the sixth largest import-source of crude oil in 2014-15.

Bilateral trade has grown significantly from a level of $180 million in the 1970s to around $60 billion per annum now, making the UAE India’s third-largest trading partner for 2014-15 after China and the US.