Etihad Airways is to launch a daily return flight between Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam from May, bringing to 88 the number of direct destinations served by the airline.
The new flights will complement KLM’s current service between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi, which will increase to daily from the summer and carry Etihad’s EY code, thus offering two flights a day between the two cities.
“The Dutch capital joins a group of 17 leading European cities that Etihad Airways now flies to, including Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London and Paris,” said James Hogan, the president and chief executive of Etihad. “This is indicative of Abu Dhabi’s growing importance as a global hub. In addition to Amsterdam, Etihad Airways will also launch flights to Sao Paulo, Washington DC, and Ho Chi Minh City in 2013,” he said.
Both airlines also announced yesterday their plans to expand their existing code-share agreement, which will lead to Etihad placing its EY code on KLM flights to Stockholm, Aberdeen, Barcelona, Bergen, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Leeds/Bradford, Madrid, Nice and Toronto.
This allows each airline to offer tickets on the others’ flights and adds to the current code-share flights to Billund, Cardiff, Newcastle, Oslo and Stavanger.
In return, KLM will place its KL code on Etihad flights to Baghdad, Basra, Calicut, Cochin, Dhaka, Erbil, Hyderabad, Kathmandu, Chennai, Male, Peshawar, Seychelles and Trivandrum. This adds to the current code-share flights to Colombo, Islamabad, Lahore, Melbourne and Sydney.
Etihad said it expected strong demand for the service from the 5,000 Dutch nationals and 300 Dutch companies in the UAE. Bilateral trade between the Netherlands and UAE is currently valued at US$3.6 billion (Dh13.22bn).
“We have expanded the code-share agreement and forged even closer ties between the two cities,” said Peter Hartman, the president and chief executive of KLM.
“The new destinations are part of the airline’s 10-year network growth plan,” said an Etihad spokesman.