Etihad Airways has announced plans to launch daily flights between Edinburgh and Abu Dhabi next year.
The new route will commence on 8 June and will be operated by an Airbus A330-200 with 22 business class seats and 240 in economy. It will be the airline’s first Scottish destination and third in the UK following London and Manchester.
The outbound flight will depart Edinburgh at 9.15 to arrive in Abu Dhabi at 19.45, while the return journey will leave at 02.40 to land in Edinburgh at 07.40.
“Scotland has been on our radar for some time and we are delighted that the first direct connection between its capital, Edinburgh, and the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, will be operational from next year,” said Etihad’s president and CEO James Hogan. “The two cities share strong tourism links and the UAE is Scotland’s primary trade partner in the Gulf region, which will fuel strong demand among business and leisure travellers on our non-stop service.”
Hogan had pledged to start flights from Scotland at the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association’s (SPAA) annual dinner in February, and also hopes to add a second service in five years’ time.
SPAA’s president Jimmy Martin said: “This can only be positive for Scotland, for our business people and our leisure travellers, not least in this landmark year. The last couple of years has brought incredible growth in the range of destinations reachable by air direct from Scottish airports, domestic, European short-haul, and worldwide long-haul. That brings healthy competition in air fares, economy and premium, and as our agents and passengers get behind these routes, it grows the market for everyone.”
The new route is part of a string of new route announcements from Etihad which also include new routes to Kolkata in February; Madrid in March; Entebbe in May and Hong Kong and Algiers in June.