Etihad Airways will next year launch its first service from Scotland with the start of a non-stop daily flight from Edinburgh to its home base of Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital city.
The new route, which will commence on June 8th, 2015, will be operated with a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, offering a total of 22 seats in business class and 240 seats in economy class.
In addition to providing a direct connection between Edinburgh and Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub, the forthcoming service will enable passengers and cargo from Scotland to connect conveniently to Etihad Airways’ destinations across the Gulf region, Asia, Australia and Africa.
Edinburgh is Etihad Airways’ first Scottish destination, and its third departure point from the UK. It currently offers triple-daily flights from London, and double-daily flights from Manchester.
James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, said: “Scotland has been on our radar for some time and we are delighted that the first direct connection between its capital, Edinburgh, and the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, will be operational from next year.
“The two cities share strong tourism links and the UAE is Scotland’s primary trade partner in the Gulf region, which will fuel strong demand among business and leisure travellers on our non-stop service.
“Travellers will also benefit from convenient connections to many other destinations, both on our own global network and through our relationships with other airlines.”
Speaking at the annual dinner of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association in February this year, Hogan pledged that Etihad Airways would start flights from Scotland in 2015.
He added that a second service would be introduced from Scotland to Abu Dhabi in five years’ time.
Scotland transport minister, Keith Brown, said: “This new route between Edinburgh and Abu Dhabi is fantastic news for Scotland, building on our already strong links with the United Arab Emirates and providing a major boost to our international connectivity.
“By removing the need for extra connecting flights, we make Scotland a more attractive place to do business and make it even easier for visitors from around the globe to come and taste the fantastic tourist experience we have to offer.
“I look forward to this service taking off in the summer of 2015 and have no doubt it will prove a huge success for both Scotland and the UAE.”
Demand for the new route should be boosted by Edinburgh’s strong links with the Indian subcontinent, south-east Asia and, in particular, Australia.
Edinburgh is ranked as the second most visited city in the UK for Australians, as around eight per cent of Australians are of Scottish descent.