Etihad launches daily flights to Rome
Abu Dhabi, July 16, 2014
UAE’s national airline Etihad Airways has commenced a daily non-stop service between Abu Dhabi and Rome Fiumicino Airport.
A senior delegation from the airline travelled on the flight including senior vice president- Executive Affairs, Hasan Al Hammadi and senior vice president - Government and Aeropolitical Affairs, Khaled Al Mehairbi.
The guests onboard the inaugural flight were presented with special commemorative certificates to mark the occasion, while a ribbon-cutting ceremony also took place at Rome airport, hosted by Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) aviation marketing development director, Dr Fausto Palombelli.
The daily service will be operated using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration, featuring 22 fully-flat beds in business class and 240 seats in economy class.
James Hogan, president and CEO, said: “Italy is a very important market for Etihad Airways and we are delighted to establish a second gateway here, after Milan Malpensa.
“By starting services to Rome, we have strengthened our commitment to Italy and reinforced the close economic and political relationship it shares with the UAE, which is Italy’s leading trade partner in the Mena region.
“Demand from business and leisure travellers has been incredibly strong on this new route, strengthened by the convenient onward connections we offer in both directions, either with Etihad’s own flights or through our extensive network of codeshare and alliance partners.”
Lorenzo Lo Presti, Aeroporti di Roma CEO, said: “We are honoured to welcome Etihad Airways to Rome, where the airline’s new daily direct flight to Abu Dhabi represents another major milestone for growing passenger and cargo traffic to and from Italy's main airport.”
“We are certain this new connection between our hub and the UAE capital will increase the flow of business and tourism traffic in both directions.”
The schedule of Etihad’s flight offers links to destinations across the Gulf region, Indian subcontinent, Africa, Asia and Australia. In the opposite direction, Abu Dhabi-Rome flights connect to European cities such as Belgrade, Bolzano, Tirana and Zagreb through flights operated by the airline’s equity partners Air Serbia and Etihad Regional.
The new service adds to Etihad Airways’ daily flights to Milan and complements Alitalia’s five-times-weekly service between Rome and Abu Dhabi. The two airlines offer codeshare connections to another 31 destinations.
Meanwhile, at a press conference in Rome today (July 16), Hogan stated that the launch is ‘the next step in a burgeoning relationship with Italy.’
“We expect the relationship to develop further, with a process under way which we hope will conclude with Etihad taking a minority shareholding in Alitalia.”
Etihad’s minority equity investment strategy was delivering many benefits to markets around the world, said Hogan.
“Airlines are scale businesses. They need scale in networks to be able to offer customers a competitive choice to as many destinations as possible. And they need scale in operation to deliver efficiencies and synergies which contribute to profits.
“Our minority investments in network partners, coupled with our wider codeshare strategy, are enabling Etihad Airways and its partners to achieve these economies of scale.
“Alone, neither Etihad Airways nor our network partners can hope to effectively compete against the might of the European legacy carriers and their alliances. Alone, neither of us would succeed in increasingly competitive markets.
“But together, we can win by sharing efficiencies and applying best practice, and we can deliver a highly efficient business performance to create and deliver sustainable profitability.
“In each case, we work within the regulatory framework. We have no control, nor do we desire it. Our investment is about commitment, about the ‘skin in the game’ which encourages all of us to seek the best possible business performance and customer service.” - TradeArabia News Service