United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier Etihad Airways has confirmed it will introduce a new daily link between its Abu Dhabi International Airport hub and the Netherlands capital Amsterdam. The new flight will commence on May 15, 2013 and will be operated on a codeshare basis with Dutch flag carrier KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as an extension of the marketing partnership announced by the two carriers last year.
The Etihad Airways flight will complement the existing services of KLM between the two cities. The Dutch carrier resumed its own services on the route in November 1993 having previously flown to Abu Dhabi in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and plans to increase the frequency to a daily schedule during summer 2013. This flight will also carry the Etihad ‘EY’ code meaning the two carriers will be able to offer customers a double daily service through the partnership, with onward connections at both ends.
Speaking at a press conference in Amsterdam to announce the new route, James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways highlighted the greater synergies between the UAE flag carrier and European airline KLM.
“We are delighted that Amsterdam will become a part Etihad Airways’ global network from May 15, 2013. The Dutch capital joins a group of 17 leading European cities that Etihad Airways flies to including Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London and Paris. The double daily service between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi will benefit passengers looking to travel from the Netherlands to Abu Dhabi and beyond to destinations like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia,” he said.
Strong demand for the Etihad Airways service is anticipated from the Dutch community in the UAE which consists of more than 5,000 Dutch nationals and 300 Dutch companies. Bilateral trade between the Netherlands and UAE is currently valued at US$3.6 billion. In 2011 an estimated 14,000 O&D passengers travelled between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi.
Etihad Airways will operate a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the new Amsterdam service, configured with 22 seats in Pearl Business class and 240 in Coral Economy class, offering each week a total of 3,668 seats between the two capital cities.
The UAE carrier and strategic partner Air France-KLM unveiled plans to work together on codeshare routes, commercial development and cost synergies in October 2012. It will now also boost the existing codeshare arrangement with KLM which will offer ‘EY’ ticketing options on KLM services to Aberdeen, Barcelona, Bergen, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Leeds/Bradford, Madrid, Nice, Stockholm and Toronto. This adds to the current codeshare flights to Billund, Cardiff, Newcastle, Oslo, and Stavanger.
In return, KLM will now also place its ‘KL’ code on Etihad Airways’ flights to Baghdad, Basra, Calicut, Cochin, Dhaka, Erbil, Hyderabad, Kathmandu, Chennai, Male, Peshawar, Seychelles and Trivandrum. This adds to the current codeshare flights to Colombo, Islamabad, Lahore, Melbourne, and Sydney.