Etihad Airways will commence codeshare services to Hong Kong in February 2013 in partnership with Air Seychelles, subject to regulatory approval. The three return services per week between Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong will be operated by its equity and codeshare partner, Air Seychelles, with an A330-200 offering 18 Pearl Business Class and 236 Economy Class seats.
The new codeshare supplements Etihad’s expansion in mainland China, following the launch of its first service to Beijing in March 2008, and more recently to Chengdu in December 2011 and Shanghai in March 2012.
James Hogan, Etihad’s President and Chief Executive, said: “Hong Kong’s fast growing economy and booming middle class have brought a remarkable increase in the number of travellers in recent years. The new service connects two of the world’s leading international financial and tourism centres, a move we believe will stimulate the growth of commerce and trade between the UAE and China, the UAE’s second largest trading partner.”
The flight schedule will provide leisure and business passengers from Hong Kong with seamless connectivity through Etihad Airways’ hub in Abu Dhabi to key destinations across the GCC and to primary European destinations including the UK, France, Germany and Ireland.
The schedule also allows two-way connectivity between Hong Kong and the Seychelles, supporting a booming tourism industry on the archipelago.
“With our 40% equity stake in Air Seychelles, it makes strong commercial sense for us to work together on opportunities where co-operation is possible. The resulting synergies bring about significant efficiency benefits for both Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles,” added James Hogan.
Addis Ababa Postponed
Meanwhile, Etihad has had to postpone the launch of its flights to Addis Ababa after the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority rejected the airline’s application for the required operating permit. The five-times weekly service was scheduled to commence on 2nd November 2012.
“Over a period of six months, the UAE Government has held several meetings to resolve this situation, with the final meeting in Addis Ababa ending in failure last week,” said the airline. “We will continue to push for terms of the MoU to be honoured.”
Etihad has also announced that it has purchased two more Airbus A330-200 passenger aircraft in a deal worth US$418 million at current list prices – and converted seven of its previously ordered Airbus A320s to the larger Airbus A321 model.
The new A330-200s are scheduled for delivery in January and March 2014 and will be configured with 22 Pearl Business Class lie-flat beds and 240 Coral Economy Class seats.