Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will launch daily non-stop flights from Abu Dhabi to the Italian capital Rome on 15 July 2014.
Subject to regulatory approvals, Rome Fiumicino airport will become Etihad Airways’ second Italian gateway after Milan Malpensa. The route will be operated by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration, featuring 22 fully-flat beds in Pearl Business Class and 240 seats in Coral Economy Class.
Rome is one of the world’s most visited cities, attracts business and leisure travellers year-round, and with the historic Vatican City within its environs, is a major pilgrimage site. The city is also a hub for Etihad Airways’ codeshare partner, Alitalia.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Since we started operations to Milan back in 2007, Etihad Airways’ passenger and freighter operations between Italy and the UAE have gone from strength to strength.
“Abu Dhabi-Rome will extend our geographic presence in the Italian market even further, create an additional entry point to Europe with excellent onward connectivity options, and strengthen the already strong trade and leisure ties between Italy and the UAE.”
Appealing to business and leisure travellers in both directions, the new Rome daily flight schedule is designed to optimally connect with Etihad Airways’ existing services over Abu Dhabi to destinations across the Gulf region, Indian subcontinent, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Mr Hogan said: “Beyond Rome, travellers will be able to connect on new Etihad Regional services to cities such as Bolzano, Tirana and Zagreb, fly with Air Serbia to Belgrade, and in addition, continue to have access to Italian domestic and European cities courtesy of codeshare partner Alitalia.
Etihad Airways already places its EY flight code on Alitalia’s existing Abu Dhabi-Rome services and beyond to cities such as Milan, Bucharest, Sofia, Vienna, Venice, Madrid, Malaga, Budapest, Malta and Barcelona.
Mr Hogan highlighted the trade potential of the new Rome flights for the airline’s freight division, Etihad Cargo.
“The UAE is Italy’s top trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa region, home to more than 3,000 Italian citizens, 90 Italian companies, and 390 Italian trade agencies. Business is booming with Italian exports to the UAE up 16 per cent in 2012 to US$ 6 billion.
“The 13.1 tonne bellyhold capability for the daily Rome operation will allow us to boost the volume and value of trade between the UAE and Italy.”
Flights can be booked from today on www.etihad.com, through Etihad Airways Contact Centres, or via travel agents.