Etihad Airways is celebrating four years of its non-stop service between Moscow and Abu Dhabi. The UAE flag carrier commenced operations to the Russian capital on December 1, 2008, and since then has carried almost 250,000 travellers and 620 tons of cargo on the route.
Five weekly flights became a daily service in 2009, and load factors have increased in each year of operation.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “The UAE is home to almost 25,000 Russians and 400 Russia-UAE joint venture companies, and as a result, the business and cultural ties between the two countries have never been stronger.
“Moscow-Abu Dhabi has been a tremendous success with strong load factor and good traffic feeds from our codeshare partner, S7 Airlines. The aim now is to expand services and connectivity over both Abu Dhabi and Moscow with S7.
Etihad Airways codeshares on S7 operated services from Moscow to the Russian cities of Kazan (KZN), Samara (KUF), Krasnodar (KRR) and Saint Petersburg (LED).
S7 codeshares on Etihad Airways’ daily Moscow-Abu Dhabi service and onwards to Bangkok. Subject to receiving necessary government approvals, the next phase of Etihad Airways’ partnership with S7 will see the Russian carrier’s flight code placed on Etihad Airways’ flights to Sydney and Melbourne. Mr Hogan cited that additional expansion opportunities are also being actively evaluated.
Etihad Airways operates a two-cabin Airbus A320 aircraft between Abu Dhabi and Moscow. This configuration means 1,904 seats a week – 224 in Pearl Business, and 1,680 in Coral Economy.
Guests travelling from Moscow in Pearl Business have access to Etihad Airways’ premium complementary door-to-door luxury limousine service, complete with a personal chauffeur (within the Moscow MKAD Ring Road to and from the airport).
In recent times Etihad Airways has also made it easier for Russian nationals to obtain a UAE visiting visa, through the TT Services online visa application centre.
Mr Hogan concluded: “We remain committed to building the Etihad Airways brand in the Russian market, offering customers great choice, connectivity, and value from what is one of the growing destinations on our network.
“By year end, Etihad Airways will be a US$5 billion business, we’ll have carried more 10 million passengers across our global network, and have 1.8 million Etihad Guest loyalty members.
“All this will have been achieved despite a still fragile global economy, and at times, challenging operating conditions.
“Working closely with S7 Airlines, our Russian partners, the travel industry, the business community and governments, we look forward to further cementing the Etihad Airways brand across Russia and deepening the already strong relationship between Russia and the United Arab Emirates.”