Etihad Airways would be adding Istanbul in Turkey to its route network in order to boost its flight programme to Europe.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline said yesterday Turkey's commercial capital will initially be served four times a week starting from June 2, expanding to five flights a week from October.
The airline would deploy a two-class (Business and Economy) Airbus A320 on the route.
By adding Istanbul to its European network, Etihad said, it would be flying to a total of 13 cities in Europe. The new destination will also increase the airline's international flight network to 54 cities, keeping in mind that the airline will also begin flights to Melbourne and Athens during the course of this year.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways' Chief Executive, said: "Istanbul represents our second confirmed new European destination to be launched in 2009 and demonstrates the increasing importance of this market to our airline."
"Trade links between the UAE and Turkey have grown substantially in recent years and we anticipate strong demand between these two important commercial centres. The new route will also provide convenient onward connections to some of the well-established Turkish communities served by our global network, notably Sydney and Melbourne," he added.
Etihad further said the volume of trade between the UAE and Turkey's largest city grew by 400 per cent from $700 million (Dh2.57 billion) in 2002 to $3.7bn in 2007. The UAE currently has investments of more than $4bn in Turkey, while Turkey has committed $40bn in investments to the UAE within the next four years, Etihad said in a statement.