Codeshare partners Alitalia and Etihad Airways have announced an increase in direct Rome-Abu Dhabi services from four flights per week to five, in addition to an expansion of codeshare destinations for customers of each airline.
Effective June 13, Alitalia will operate the increased frequency Rome-Abu Dhabi return flights using a new 230-seat Airbus A330 aircraft. The flights will operate on an enhanced split schedule, ensuring maximum connectivity over each airline’s hub.
The news follows the success of last December’s launch of non-stop services between Rome and Abu Dhabi, driven by healthy load factors, strong feeder and onward connections traffic, and burgeoning trade and tourism ties.
The updated schedule is timed to coincide with seamless connections in Abu Dhabi and Rome to and from cities in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Indian subcontinent.
In preparation for the extra Rome-Abu Dhabi services, Alitalia customers already have greater onward codeshare connectivity options via Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub. This includes flights to Bahrain, Bangkok, Colombo, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kuala Lumpur, the Maldives, Melbourne, Muscat, Nairobi, the Seychelles, Singapore and Sydney.
At the same time, Etihad Airways has extended its onward codeshare connections over Alitalia’s Rome Fiumicino hub to now comprise Athens, Barcelona, Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Frankfurt, Geneva, Madrid, Malaga, Malta, Milan, Munich, Sofia, Tirana, Venice, Vienna and Zurich.
Kevin Knight, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Etihad Airways, said: “These are yet more positive milestones in our expanding partnership with Alitalia. The increase in direct services between Abu Dhabi and Rome, an expanded list of onward codeshare cities, combined with a familiar lie-flat seat in business class, underscore how we are delivering value for both airlines, and most importantly, our combined customers.”
Giancarlo Schisano, Alitalia Deputy General Director Business, said: “We are very pleased with the strengthening of the commercial partnership with Etihad Airways and with the traffic results of Alitalia’s flight between Rome and Abu Dhabi. In over four months from the beginning of the connection, Alitalia has transported more than 17,000 passengers on the route.
“The success of the flight is also due to the possibility afforded to Alitalia passengers to travel beyond Abu Dhabi to many codeshare destinations across Australia, South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Gulf States and South Africa with Etihad Airways.”
In addition to the codeshare with Alitalia, Etihad Airways has 43 other codeshare agreements in place with airlines across the world. Codeshare partnerships, along with equity acquisitions and organic growth, form the three pillars of Etihad Airways’ expansion plans.