Etihad Airways has announced a series of new routes for 2015. It intends to start daily flights to Madrid and Edinburgh together with Kolkata and Entebbe.
The airline will also operate 4X-weekly services to Hong Kong and 3X-weekly flights to Algiers.
Additionally, its existing daily flights to Brisbane, currently operated via Singapore, will become a direct service from June 2015. This route will be operated using a three-class Boeing 787-9.
Further service upgrades in June 2015 include the introduction of a three-class Airbus A330-300 on daily flights to Singapore, and a three-class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on flights to Moscow, marking the debut of first-class cabins on both of these routes.
James Hogan, Etihad’s president and CEO, said: “The expansion will also create new opportunities to enhance our codeshare agreements and align operations with key airline partners, such as Virgin Australia, Jet Airways, Air Seychelles, Air Europa and Kenya Airways. Between Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong, for instance, our four weekly flights will combine with Air Seychelles’ three weekly flights to provide a daily frequency.”
The start of services to Edinburgh follows a promise by Hogan in February to the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association that Etihad would start flights from Scotland in 2015. He added that a second service would be introduced from Scotland to Abu Dhabi in five years’ time.
The new route, which will commence on June 8, will be operated with a two-class Airbus A330-200.
“Scotland has been on our radar for some time,” said Hogan. “The two cities share strong tourism links and the UAE is Scotland’s primary trade partner in the Gulf region, which will fuel strong demand among business and leisure travelers.”
Etihad believes that demand for the new route will be boosted by Edinburgh’s strong links with the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and, in particular, Australia. Edinburgh is ranked as the second most visited city in the UK for Australians, as around 8% of Australians are of Scottish descent.