Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is set to boost its flying programme to Europe with the addition of its latest new route to Istanbul in Turkey. Turkey’s commercial capital will initially be served four times a week from June 2, expanding to five flights a week from October.
The addition of Istanbul will bring to 13 the number of European cities served by Etihad. The new destination will increase the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s global flight network to 54 cities and follows confirmation that Etihad will also begin flights to Melbourne and Athens during 2009.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: „Istanbul represents our second confirmed new European destination to be launched in 2009 and demonstrates the increasing importance of this market to our airline.
„Trade links between the UAE and Turkey have grown substantially in recent years and we anticipate strong demand between these two important commercial centres. The new route will also provide convenient onward connections to some of the well-established Turkish communities served by our global network, notably Sydney and Melbourne.“
Istanbul, located on the Bosphorus Strait, is the largest city in Turkey. The city extends both on the European and Asian side of the Bosphorus, and is the only city in the world to be situated on two different continents. In its long history, Istanbul served as the capital city of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.
There are estimated to be around 6,000 Turkish expatriates currently living and working in the UAE, mainly in the construction, engineering, financial and tourism sectors.
The volume of trade between the UAE and Turkey grew by 400 per cent from US $700 million (Dh2.57bn) in 2002 to US $3.7 billion (Dh13.6bn) in 2007. The UAE currently has investments of more than US $4 billion (Dh14.7bn) in Turkey, while Turkey has committed US $40 billion (Dh147bn) in investments to the UAE within the next four years.
Etihad will operate a two-class Airbus A320 to Istanbul, configured to carry 140 passengers with 20 seats in business class and 120 in economy class.