Etihad Airways will launch daily service between the airline’s home base of Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, on May 15.
As part of an expanded codeshare agreement between Etihad Airways and Dutch national carrier KLM, the new service will carry KLM’s ‘KL’ flight code.
The Abu Dhabi carrier’s daily flights will complement KLM’s existing service between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi. The frequency of this service will increase to daily from the summer and KLM’s flight will carry Etihad Airways’ ‘EY’ flight code, ensuring that the two airlines can offer a combined double-daily service.
Etihad Airways’ schedule for its Abu Dhabi-Amsterdam service calls for flight EY077 to leave Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) at 9:30 a.m. daily and land at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) at 1:40 p.m. local time
In the other direction, flight EY078 is timed to depart AMS at 10:00 p.m. daily and reach AUH at 6:35 a.m. the following morning, local time.
“The Dutch capital joins a group of 17 leading European cities that Etihad Airways flies to including Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London and Paris,” said James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, speaking at a press conference in Amsterdam held to announce the new service.
Continued Hogan: “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.”
Hogan added: “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.”
Etihad expects strong demand for its service from the Dutch community in the United Arab Emirates, 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 annually.
The carrier will operate two-class Airbus A330-200 widebodies on its Amsterdam service. Each is 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.
Expansion of the Etihad-KLM codeshare agreement will see Etihad Airways placing its ‘EY’ code on KLM flights from Amsertdam 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.
“It is great news for KLM, Schipol 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,” Peter Hartman, president and chief executive officer of KLM, said at the Amsterdam press conference.
“KLM’s Abu Dhabi service has been very successful and it is welcoming news for air travelers 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,” Hartman added.
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.
The new codeshare destinations are part of the Abu Dhabi airline’s 10-year network growth plan, which calls for Etihad Airways itself to fly to more than 100 destinations with a fleet of more than 150 aircraft by 2020.