Commercial and cultural ties between Abu Dhabi and Milan are set to
increase significantly with the launch of Etihad Airways’ new route to
the Italian industrial and fashion centre on 2 September. The Abu Dhabi-based airline will operate three flights a week to Milan,
which will be Etihad’s ninth European destination, and takes place at a
time when investment opportunities in both countries have never been
At present the UAE’s Italian community stands at 2,000 and that figure
continues to grow year-on-year. More than 80 Italian companies currently
operate in the UAE and early demand for the new flights indicate that
much of the traffic on the new route will come from the Italian business
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said:
“By offering more than 1,200 seats each week from Abu Dhabi
to Milan, Etihad will play a key role in the growth of commercial and
cultural ties between the UAE and Italy. Business and leisure travellers
from both countries will be able to travel frequently, which will
increase bilateral trade, especially in tourism.’
According to recent figures UAE-Italian trade amounted to AED17 billion
in 2006, an increase of 28 per cent over the previous year. Furthermore,
Italian exports to the UAE, in the period of January to April 2007,
stood at AED 6.3 billion which is an increase of 30 per cent over the
same period in 2006.
H.E. Ambassador Paolo Dionisi, the Italian Ambassador to the UAE, said:
‘The opening of the new Etihad flights to Milan will enhance relations
between Italy and the UAE. This will bring the two countries closer in
all sectors including business, tourism and investment. The direct
connection between Milan and the UAE’s capital will also greatly boost
Italian interests in Abu Dhabi and its growth as a global aviation
To mark the start of the new flights and the closer commercial and
cultural ties, four of Abu Dhabi’s leading organisations - Etihad,
Aldar, Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority - will host a VIP
reception in Milan early next month.
More than 300 high-level guests are due to attend the Abu Dhabi
reception at Milan’s world-famous Castello Sforzesco Palace on Saturday
8 September, the night before the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
The event aims to build on cultural and business interests which will
prosper further following the launch of Etihad’s new flights. Among
major UAE-Italian projects already underway is the 2,500-acre Ferrari
Experience on Al Yas island which is being constructed by Aldar.
The Ferrari Experience, scheduled to open in 2009, will be a “high-tech”
theme park and will feature simulator rides, roller coasters, an
interactive museum and a theatre with an Italian-themed play and a race
Initial demand for the new Abu Dhabi to Milan service has also been
considerable because of the introductory fares Etihad is offering its
Etihad will operate a three-cabin A330-200 aircraft which is configured
to carry 12 passengers in first class, 26 in business class and 164 in
economy, a total of 202 passengers.
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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