Etihad Airways passed a major milestone after flying the one-millionth passenger on its Dublin – Abu Dhabi route on 28th February. The airline launched its service from Dublin in 2007 and the average passenger load factor on the route is currently 85%.
The one-millionth passenger, Alacoque O’Connor from Athlone, Co Roscommon, was randomly chosen from flight EY42. She was presented by Dave Walsh, Etihad Airways’ General Manager – Ireland, with a prize including two Pearl Business Class return flights and four nights accommodation in Abu Dhabi, corporate hospitality tickets to the Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship final, two tickets to a Manchester City game at the Etihad Stadium, and two tickets to see Harlequins rugby club play at the Stoop.
The one-millionth passenger landmark comes as Etihad Airways is set to boost capacity in the Irish market with the introduction of a B777-300ER aircraft on six of its 10 weekly return flights from 2nd July.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive, said: “Etihad Airways has a great affinity with Ireland and the Irish market and we are delighted to achieve this milestone in less than six years of operations from Dublin.
“We continue to make cultural, sporting and employment investments in Ireland and the deployment of the B777-300ER from this summer demonstrates that we are keen to invest further.”
Etihad Airways also has a wide-ranging codeshare agreement with its equity partner, Aer Lingus, which has brought considerable traffic on to both carriers’ flight networks.
The codeshare agreement has seen Etihad Airways place its ‘EY’ code on Aer Lingus flights between Dublin, Manchester and London Heathrow, and destinations in Ireland, the British Isles, the Channel Islands, Portugal, the Netherlands and the USA.
In return, Aer Lingus has placed its ‘EI’ code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, and has full access to flights across the network beyond Abu Dhabi, to points including Australia, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East.
Etihad Airways launched its services to Ireland in July 2007 with an initial four flights a week, increasing to six and then moving to a daily service in March 2008. This grew to 10 flights per week in March 2010.
Etihad Airways’ Ireland investments include its line maintenance facility at Dublin Airport, and the opening of a premium lounge at Terminal 2 in 2011.
The airline has also established strong cultural partnerships with the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), and The Gathering Ireland 2013.
During The Gathering Ireland 2013 Etihad Airways will carry hurling teams from the Arabian Gulf, Asia and Australia to Ireland to take part in the International Hurling Festival.