Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced plans to increase its services to the Pakistani cities of Islamabad and Peshawar as part of its commitment to provide travellers with more convenient travel timings and choices.
Starting from 30 March 2014, Etihad Airways will increase its flights to Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad, from 11 flights a week to a double daily schedule. Services to Peshawar, often referred to as the "City on the Frontier" due to its strategic location at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia, increased from two to five per week on 1 February 2014.
With the addition of the new services, Etihad Airways will now offer 37 weekly flights from four destinations in Pakistan which, along with Islamabad and Peshawar, include Karachi and Lahore.
The additional services on each route will be operated by A320 aircraft, fitted with 16 Pearl Business Class and 120 Economy Class seats, and will increase capacity by over 150 per cent.
The new services to Peshawar will improve the number of connections over the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub to more than 167 connections a week (representing an increase of 78 per cent) to a number of key destinations in the GCC, North America and Europe.
Kevin Knight, Etihad Airways’ Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, said: “Pakistan is a growing market for Etihad Airways, as passenger demand, connectivity choice, and frequency enhancements continue to drive business and leisure traffic onto our expanding global network.
“Our new services to these two strategically important Pakistani cities will drive continued strong growth in traffic flows between Islamabad, Peshawar, Abu Dhabi and beyond to many key destinations across our global network and also further strengthen the commercial and cultural ties between Pakistan and the UAE.”
Along with the additional services, Etihad Airways also unveiled new timings for its Islamabad flights. The new timings will greatly improve connections to destinations in the Arabian Gulf.
Etihad's first Madina flight takes off
Etihad Airways has launched the daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Al Madina, a key religious and cultural hub in the western province of Saudi Arabia.
A senior Etihad Airways delegation visited Al Medina to celebrate the new service to the airline's fourth destination in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and one which attracts religious Hajj and Umrah travellers visiting the home of Prophet Mohammed's [Peace Be Upon Him] Mosque and burial site.
They were received by Saudi officials at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport. The delegation then hosted a dinner in the city attended by government, airport officials and other dignitaries.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer Etihad Airways, said: "Medina Al Munawarra is an important strategic destination for us, and we are delighted to commence our operations to the second holiest city in Islam.
"Saudi Arabia has always been a key market for Etihad Airways and this new route links Medina through our Abu Dhabi home base with excellent connections to Europe, Asia, the Americas and the rest of our growing network."
Flights between Abu Dhabi and Medina are operated by an A320 aircraft configured with 16 Pearl Business Class and 120 Coral Economy Class seats, offering a total 1,904 seats per week.
The new service to Al Medina will be Etihad Airways' ninth destination in the Arabian Peninsula, joining Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat, and Sana'a WAM/Majok