Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways will add Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to its rapidly growing network in November and will also launch service from its hub to the Indian city of Ahmedabad in the same month.
The two new cities will expand Etihad Airways’ network to 86 passenger and cargo destinations around the world.
Etihad Airways will operate each of the two new routes from its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) with Airbus A320 equipment. According to Etihad Airways, the new routes support its aims to connect key strategic cities with its home base of Abu Dhabi, enhancing commercial and leisure travel with the United Arab Emirates’ capital city.
The carrier’s flights between Abu Dhabi and Addis Ababa, its ninth destination in Africa, will initially operate five times a week, increasing to daily in 2013. Flights will operate daily between Abu Dhabi and Ahmedabad, the airline’s ninth destination in India.
“We continue to build strength and depth to our global network and the addition of Addis Ababa, a major East African hub, and Ahmedabad, the fifth largest city in India, will make significant contributions to traffic flows to Abu Dhabi and beyond,” says James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer.
“Addis Ababa and Ahmedabad are economic centers in their respective countries and daily flights to Abu Dhabi will build greater ties with the UAE’s capital as it continues to invest in world-class development projects and attract business and leisure travellers,” adds Hogan.
Ethiopia is the largest African market that Etihad Airways is yet to serve and the second-most-populous country in Africa. Etihad Airways expects the new route to Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport (ADD) to contribute strong business and leisure traffic to the airline’s network.
There is also a growing Ethiopian population living and working in Abu Dhabi and the UAE which will benefit from the new Abu Dhabi–Addis Ababa service, according to the airline.
Etihad Airways’ new service to Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (IATA code AMD) will offer nearly 1,000 seats a week into the Guajarati city and the November 2012 launch will coincide with the beginning of the peak travel season in India.
The airline anticipates strong traffic flows from Ahmedabad to Abu Dhabi and on to its European and U.S. destinations. According to Etihad Airways, the new route also underlines its commitment to serve the major population centres across India with direct flights to Abu Dhabi.
Etihad’s A320s have two cabins with 16 Pearl Business Class seats and 120 Coral Economy Class seats.