Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will increase its Abu Dhabi - Dublin service from ten flights per week, to double daily from July 15, 2014. The announcement follows just a week after Emirates Airline announced it would double its own Dubai – Dublin route from a daily to twice daily offering from September 1, 2014.
Etihad Airways will operate a Boeing 777-300 ER, configured to carry 380 passengers with 40 in Pearl Business Class and 340 in Coral Economy Class, and an Airbus A330-200, configured to carry 262 passengers, with 22 in Pearl Business Class and 240 in Coral Economy Class on its two daily rotations with the 40 per cent frequency boost providing 8,988 more seats each week between the capital cities of the UAE and Ireland.
“From the moment we started flights to Dublin in July 2007 it has been one our most successful routes and we’re delighted that from this July, seven years later, Etihad Airways will offer guests a double daily service to and from Abu Dhabi.”James Hogan
President & Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways
“From the moment we started flights to Dublin in July 2007 it has been one our most successful routes and we’re delighted that from this July, seven years later, Etihad Airways will offer guests a double daily service to and from Abu Dhabi,” said James Hogan, president and chief executive officer, Etihad Airways.
“The 40 per cent increase in flight frequency will benefit business and leisure travel not only between Ireland and the UAE but also right across the Etihad Airways network, especially countries which have a connection with Ireland like Australia, Thailand and Malaysia,” he added.
The schedule for the double daily flights will ensure connectivity both ways with 800 weekly connections to 45 Etihad Airways destinations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, including Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Perth, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
The frequency increase by Etihad Airways supports the pledge made by James Hogan to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to continue to play a key role in enhancing UAE-Irish ties. Mr Kenny made a special visit to Etihad Airways’ headquarters in January during which he met Irish members of the Etihad Airways workforce. Currently 176 Irish nationals work for the airline in Dublin, Abu Dhabi and around the world.
“It's more great news for tourism and for Irish aviation and represents another significant capacity boost at Dublin Airport this year. Overall, there is a huge increase in airline capacity into Ireland this year which will help us to continue growing visitor numbers,” added Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport.
Since launching flights to Dublin in 2007 Etihad Airways has flown nearly 1.2 million passengers on the route which regularly features on the airline’s top 10 most popular: 2013 was the busiest year to date with more than 240,000 passengers flying on the route pair.
Ireland has a population of around 4.5 million, while around 5,000 Irish nationals live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) so a relatively strong point-to-point demand is anticipated on the route. An estimated 120,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled between Ireland and UAE in the year ending November 2013, with just under half travelling to Abu Dhabi. This represented a growth 30.2 per cent versus the previous 12 months.
But, with the connection opportunities in the UAE, this route is more than just about O&D passengers. Around 80,000 Irish nationals live in Australia, and as we reported last week, this market is key for both Emirates and Etihad, who will now fight over the large demand for passengers flying between Dublin and destinations across Asia, the Pacific and Australasia.
Earlier this month we highlighted the top destinations for passengers beginning or ending their journeys on Emirates' flight to the Irish capital and in the charts below we compare this with the main inbound and outbound destinations for Etihad Airways' own flights to Dublin.