Italian flag-carrier Alitalia is to inaugurate flights to World Routes host city Abu Dhabi before the end of this year after formalising a codeshare arrangement with United Arab Emirates (UAE) national carrier Etihad Airways on the proposed link from Rome Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) Airport.
The new four times weekly service is due to commence on December 1st, 2012, subject to government approvals, and will be flown using an Airbus A330.
This will be Alitalia’s first long-term scheduled route programme at Abu Dhabi International Airport and will complement the existing flights of Etihad Airways to Milan Malpensa.
The SkyTeam alliance member has previously served the Emirati city for a limited period with flights between December 1996 and March 1997 and up until November 2008 had also served Dubai.
Under the terms of the agreement between Alitalia and Etihad Airways, the latter’s ‘EY’ code will be displayed on the flights as well as onward Alitalia services from Rome to Venice and the Swiss city of Zurich.
It already has its code on the Italian carrier’s flights Rome to Milan, Frankfurt, Munich, Geneva and Athens.
For Alitalia the partnership will enable it to offer new flight options to its passengers via the wide Etihad network from its Abu Dhabi International Airport hub with its code continuing to be placed on flights to Bahrain, Muscat, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Melbourne and Sydney.
“The launch of this important new route is the next step in a successful collaboration which we started in 2009 with Etihad Airways,” said Andrea Ragnetti, chief executive, Alitalia.
“The new Rome-Abu Dhabi route will allow both companies to offer their passengers a new direct service and in particular for Alitalia passengers from Rome, it will further open the doors to exceptional business and tourist destinations around the world on Etihad Airways’ network.”