Etihad Airways announces new daily Edinburgh – Abu Dhabi service

Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ national carrier, is looking to connect the Middle East to the Scottish capital with the launch of daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh, starting this week.

Etihad Airways’ first Scottish destination, the Edinburgh service is its third in the UK, alongside a triple-daily operation to London Heathrow and double-daily flights to Manchester.

The new service is expected to provide connections through the Abu Dhabi hub to some of the most popular holiday destinations and trade centres for the Scottish economy in the Middle East, Indian sub-continent, Asia and Australia. Operated using a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, the service offers a total of 22 seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy Class.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer for Etihad Airways, said: ‘Scotland is the natural next step on our growth trajectory in the UK, with strong tourism and business traffic in both directions. We have been impressed by the welcome we have received from Edinburgh Airport and from the Scottish tourism industry. Many local stakeholders have played a part in attracting us to the city and welcoming us here, and we’re confident this service will be a great success.

‘As the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is also an important business and financial hub across many industry sectors. With more than 110 direct destinations – and hundreds more through our partners – we can connect Scottish travellers wherever they need to go, for business or for leisure. Additionally, for Scottish trade and tourism, we will be able to bring in leisure and business visitors from many of these destinations.’

For leisure customers and families, Edinburgh – the UK’s largest tourist centre outside London – attracts over a million overseas tourists each year. Notably, Edinburgh is the second most popular British city for Australians, eight per cent of whom have Scottish ancestry. Etihad Airways currently connects directly to Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne and onward to around 40 further destinations across Australia, through the partnership with Virgin Australia.

For businesses and trade, the UAE is already a major trade partner for Scotland in the Middle East. According to data released at the end of 2014 by the UK’s Office for National Statistics, bilateral trade between the UAE and UK reached more than £12.36 billion in 2013.

 

Etihad Airways launches new travel agent booking system

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced that it has launched a new travel agent booking system.

The air carrier said that the system, EYHolidaysConnect, has been launched at an event in the Kingdom of Bahrain. More than 60 local travel trade executives and holiday managers apparently attended the event, and their main focus is the provision of complete holiday packages to Etihad Airways’ guests. The launch of the product in Bahrain is intended as part of an overall rollout of the new EYHolidaysConnect system across the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

EYHolidaysConnect system is claimed to assist travel agents in offering guests a complete suite of tailored packages. This will include flights, accommodation in more than 30,000 hotels across the entire globe, and a range of other services that will include tours, excursions, transfers and cruises.

Husam Alaseeri, Etihad Airways’ general manager in Bahrain, said, ‘The launch of the new EYHolidaysConnect is a big step forward for the airline here in Bahrain and across the GCC. It makes the job of the travel agent easier in that they are better able to match the holidaymaker to their ideal holiday package. Etihad Holidays offers an incredibly diverse range of packages, including honeymoons, family summer getaways, holidays for adventurers and extreme sports lovers, Formula 1 packages, fun-filled excursions to Disneyland Paris, and other specially tailored packages on demand.’

The system also offers ‘The Luxury Collection’, which includes exclusive five-star hotels along with complimentary chauffeur-driven services.

Etihad enters into code sharing agreement with Irish carrier

UAE-based Etihad Airways and Ireland-based Aer Lingus have entered into a new code-sharing agreement.

The two air carriers have signed an interline and codeshare agreement. The deal follows a recent purchase of 2.987 percent equity in the Irish air carrier by the UAE airline. The agreement signed by the two companies means that Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ code on Aer Lingus flights between Dublin, Manchester and London Heathrow, and destinations in Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands, Portugal, Netherlands and the US. The move will be reciprocated by Aer Lingus, which will place its ‘EI’ code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Dublin.

The Irish airline will also have full access to flights across the network beyond Abu Dhabi to points that include Australia, Asia-Pacific, the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East. The new agreement has increased Etihad Airways’ code-share agreements with airlines across the world to 36.

James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad Airways, said, ‘We are delighted to announce this new codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus which will provide Etihad Airways’ customers with new travel options and flight connections to Ireland, the UK, continental Europe, and across the Atlantic to Boston and New York. The codeshare agreement is an early indication of the success of Etihad Airways’ strategic plan to acquire equity in Aer Lingus and other airlines and the instant benefit it brings to both airlines’ customers around the world.’

The two firms have also disclosed that they were working towards a closer business relationship.

 

Etihad Airways Acquires Stock in Virgin Australia

Etihad Airways, a UAE-based national airline, is acquiring a part of the equity holdings of Virgin Australia Holdings, the holding company for Virgin Australia airline.

The airline has recently acquired a stake of 3.96 percent in Virgin Australia Holdings for an undisclosed amount. The airline currently operates a code share service, including 24 flights a week, between Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, and Australia, with Virgin Australia, and hopes to expand its relationship with the area following the recent acquisition.

In a statement the airline has said, ‘Etihad Airways believes that this equity investment in Virgin Australia’s domestic operations significantly strengthens the 10-year strategic partnership forged by the two carriers in August 2010.

It will enrich the commercial benefits which the alliance already provides for both airlines as well as increasing the benefits to Australian consumers and visitors to Australia.’

Recently, Etihad has leased a Virgin Australia B777-300ER aircraft to use on its route between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia.

Virgin Australia, previously known as Virgin Blue, is part owned by Virgin Group with a 26 percent interest, and Air New Zealand with a 20 percent interest.

The airline is reporting that it has been operating its flights to Australia since March 2007, carrying around 2.2 million passengers to date on its routes to Sydney Melbourne, and Brisbane, from Abu Dhabi.

Previously, Etihad Airways had acquired a 2.99 percent holding in the Irish airline, Aer Lingus, and a 29 percent stake in Air Berlin, the second largest air carrier in Germany.

Etihad Acquires Stake in Aer Lingus

Ireland’s Aer Lingus will be selling part of its equity holdings to Etihad Airways, a UAE-based national airline.

Etihad has acquired a 2.99 percent holding in the Irish airline recently for an undisclosed amount, and intends to work closely with the Irish airline to enter into probable code share agreements, and joint procurements.

Etihad Airways is currently offering around 10 flights a week from Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, to Dublin, in Ireland and has ferried around 750,000 passengers between the two destinations since commencement of the route in July 2007.

Etihad has a premium lounge at Dublin Airport, maintains an engineering maintenance facility in Ireland, and has recently entered into an agreement to renew its sponsorship of the Gaelic Athletic Association, an Ireland-based sports and cultural association.

Aer Lingus said in a statement that Etihad does not intend to acquire more of a stake in the airline company, and will be focusing on reciprocal code-share opportunities, stating, ‘Future discussions may explore additional commercial and cost opportunities to develop a closer working relationship in areas such as joint procurement.’

Etihad, in the statement, said, ‘the purchase reflected its desire to forge a commercial partnership with the Irish national carrier’ and it believes, ‘a possible partnership could produce significant commercial benefits for both airlines.’

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, is also an investor in Aer Lingus and owns a 30 percent stake in the airline.

Ryanair chief executive officer, Michael O’Leary, said, ‘The future of Aer Lingus can only be decided when or if the Irish government sells its 25 percent stake. If this is sold to Etihad or to a financial investor, then it is inevitable that Aer Lingus will be broken up and some or all of its Heathrow slots lost to Ireland.’