Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will launch daily flights between the airline’s home-base of Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.
The new EY77 and EY78 services will begin on Wednesday 15 May 2013 and carry the KL code of Dutch national carrier, KLM.
The daily flights will complement KLM’s current service between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi which will increase to daily from the Summer and carry Etihad Airways’ EY code, ensuring that the two airlines can offer a combined double daily service.
Speaking at a press conference in Amsterdam, James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways; and Peter Hartman, President and Chief Executive Officer of KLM, also disclosed details of the expansion of the codeshare agreement between the two airlines.
James Hogan said: “We are delighted that Amsterdam will become a part Etihad Airways’ global network from 15 May. 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.
“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 D.C., and Ho Chi Minh City in 2013.”
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.
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 codeshare expansion will see Etihad Airways 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 adds to the current codeshare flights to Billund, Cardiff, Newcastle, Oslo, and Stavanger.
In return, KLM will 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.
Peter Hartman said: “It is great news for KLM, Schiphol Airport and the Netherlands that Etihad Airways will launch its own daily service between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi and that we have expanded the codeshare agreement and forged even closer ties between the two cities.
“KLM’s Abu Dhabi service has been very successful and it is welcoming news for air travellers that it will increase to daily and that we will also place our KL code on Etihad Airways’ new daily flights which will start on 15 May.”
Etihad Airways and strategic partner Air France-KLM unveiled plans to work together on codeshare routes, commercial development and cost synergies in October 2012. The agreement expanded the UAE flag carrier’s network to 337 destinations.
These new destinations are part of the airline’s 10-year network growth plan which will see Etihad Airways fly to more than 100 destinations with a fleet of more than 150 aircraft by 2020.