Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Etihad Route Map, September 2016: Europe

Continuing to perhaps unfairly compare Etihad to its larger rival Emirates, the twenty European cities which connect to Abu Dhabi is impressive coverage for most carriers. The range of destinations reveal as much about Etihad's aggressive acquisition strategy over the last decade as the connectivity to the continent. 

Etihad today has stakes in Alitalia (hence Milan and Rome), Air Berlin (hence the flight into Düsseldorf), Air Serbia (how else to explain the flight to Belgrade) and completely rebranded Swiss regional airline Darwin into Etihad regional, which interconnects the center of Europe. 

As interesting as this somewhat incongruous string of purchases is, it begins to make for a very messy map. There are far more blue "partner" flights on this small inset graphic than the single fan of bright red links to Abu Dhabi. Together it makes the route map much too busy and challenging to read: even the black city labels in Central Europe are nearly blotted out. 

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