Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's visit puts focus on aviation and energy deals with India

The aviation sector is expected to drive trade between India and the UAE as the pair seek to boost commercial ties.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, arrived in India yesterday on his first official visit to the country. Billions of dollars in investment deals are expected to be finalised this week with aerospace and energy likely to be key areas of focus.

Etihad has invested heavily in increasing passenger traffic to and from the UAE with India becoming the busiest destination from Abu Dhabi last year, according to airport data.

That helped Abu Dhabi International Airport to achieve record traffic figures of more than 23 million passengers.

“India is a key market for Etihad Airways and, with our equity partner Jet Airways, we have significantly grown our business. Together, we are the market leader with 21 per cent share of total passenger traffic carried to and from India,” said Hareb Al Muhairy, the senior vice president of corporate and international affairs.

Etihad and Jet Airways already operate 254 flights a week in each direction between Abu Dhabi and 15 cities across India.

Other UAE airlines, including Emirates and flyDubai, are also targeting growth on the subcontinent.

India, on Monday, issued a forecast of economic growth of 7.6 per cent for the current fin­ancial year, which runs to the end of March.

Sheikh Mohammed began his three-day visit to India in New Delhi, accompanied by a delegation of ministers, economists and almost 100 business executives.

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, wants to boost foreign spending in the country, which he says needs US$1 trillion of investment.


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