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Etihad ending flights to Iran, Uganda in 2018

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Etihad

Etihad Airways will scrap flights to Iran and Uganda next year, the latest routes to be dropped as it pursues a strategy review.

The Abu Dhabi airline, one of the three Gulf super connectors, has spent over a decade building a global network that links passengers travelling between East and West.

Etihad will stop flying to Iran’s capital Tehran on Jan. 24 and Uganda’s Entebbe on March 25, the airline said on Tuesday.

The five weekly Tehran services are to be reduced to twice a week between Dec. 25 and Jan. 23, before it is suspended entirely on Jan. 24.

An Etihad spokeswoman declined to say why Tehran was being suspended, but said affected passengers could switch to an alternative travel date between Dec. 25 and Jan. 23 or be refunded.

Entebbe is being dropped after a commercial review of the route’s performance, an Etihad statement said.

Etihad stopped flying to San Francisco in October and has also announced it would cut flights to Dallas-Fort Worth and India’s Jaipur next year.

The airline has blamed American Airlines for making its Dallas route commercially unviable after the U.S. carrier ended their code-share deal.

Etihad, along with Emirates and Qatar Airways which make up the three major Middle East airlines, relies on connecting millions of passengers a year through the Gulf, which means ending one route can have a knock-on effect on its network.

The majority of their passengers do not start or finish their journey at their respective Gulf hubs.

The airline launched the strategy review in 2016 but has made few details public about it.

This year, it sold its stake in a European regional carrier and stepped away from investments in Air Berlin and Italy’s Alitalia which both subsequently filed for administration.

Etihad’s long-serving Group Chief Executive, James Hogan, left the airline this year and will be replaced by Britain’s top defence buyer Tony Douglas in January.

Douglas, who joins Etihad from Britain’s Ministry of Defence, has previously served as chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s airport company.

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