Etihad began flying to the commercial capital of South Africa twice a week in December 2005 and the route has proved immensely popular with business and leisure air travellers. Much of the demand for the service to increase to a daily flight has come from the expanding South African community that lives and works in the Gulf.
There are currently an estimated 100,000 South African nationals living throughout the Gulf region, out of which an estimated 20,000 live in the UAE.
Geert Boven, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president sales and services, said: ‘Etihad’s base in Abu Dhabi provides a natural air-bridge linking the Gulf communities and Etihad’s network to South Africa.
‘The demand for daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg has grown considerably during the past 12 months whether it is UAE-based South Africans flying home with Etihad or holidaymakers visiting South Africa.
Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng and has a population of almost eight million.
As well as being South Africa’s wealthiest city, Johannesburg is a frequent transit point for passengers taking connecting flights to Cape Town and Durban and other member states of the Southern African Development Countries (SADC).
Mmutlane Samson Makena, South Africa’s Charge d’Affairs to the UAE, said: ‘South Africa continues to develop closer commercial and cultural ties with the UAE and the new daily Etihad flight between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg will help us to enhance this further.’
To celebrate the new daily service Etihad is offering promotional fares for flights to Johannesburg. Return economy fares start from AED 2,020 and return business class fares start from AED 9,850 (taxes not included).
In addition to these special fares, members of the Etihad Guest loyalty programme can earn ‘double miles’ when travelling on the Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg route throughout August.
Etihad operates a two cabin Airbus A330-200 between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg which is configured to carry 262 passengers, with 22 in business class and 240 in economy.
From 1 August flight EY600 will depart daily from Abu Dhabi at 2.25am and arrive in Johannesburg at 8.20am.
The return flight EY601 will depart from Johannesburg every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 10.25am and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 8.10pm.
On Tuesday EY601 will depart from Johannesburg at 10.40am and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 8.25pm. On Saturday EY601 will depart from Johannesburg at 11.05am and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 8.50pm. On Sunday EY601 will depart from Johannesburg at 10.30am and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 8.15pm.
Etihad was recently named ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline,’ ‘Middle East’s Leading First Class Airline’ and ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline Website’ at the inaugural regional World Travel Awards, Middle East & Africa ceremony, that took place at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
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