Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will increase its Abu Dhabi - Dublin service from ten flights per week, to double daily from 15 July 2014.
The frequency boost of 40 per cent will provide 8,988 seats each week between the capital cities of the UAE and Ireland.
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.
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.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “From the moment we started flights to Dublin in July 2007 it has been one of 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.
“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.”
Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) Chief Executive, Kevin Toland, welcomed the decision. He said: “The partnership between Dublin Airport and Etihad Airways has been hugely successful since the airline launched the Dublin-Abu Dhabi route in 2007. Dublin has long been one of Etihad Airways’ busiest routes and the airline has steadily expanded capacity on the service over the past six years.”
“We are delighted that Etihad Airways has announced a 40 per cent increase in frequency for the service, which will operate double daily from 15 July, as it will offer additional choice and convenience to both business and leisure travellers.”
Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD said he was also delighted with Etihad Airways’ decision to further expand its Dublin route: “Etihad Airways is increasing frequency into Ireland by 40 per cent and thereby significantly increasing the number of potential visitors.
“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.”
The frequency increase by Etihad Airways supports the pledge made by James Hogan to the Irish Prime Minister, 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.
During the visit Etihad Airways also hosted workshops with 12 Irish aviation companies and suppliers and their counterparts in Etihad Airways.
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.
Etihad Airways has a number of key investments in Ireland including a line maintenance facility and premium lounge at Dublin Airport, as well as cultural partnerships with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) hurling and The Gathering Ireland 2013.