Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and airBaltic, Latvia’s flag carrier, today announced that direct Riga-Abu Dhabi flights will commence on December 16, 2013.
The announcement follows the signing of a codeshare agreement between the two airlines. Subject to regulatory approvals, airBaltic will operate the new four weekly return flights using a 116 seat Airbus A319 aircraft.
With seating capacity for 14 Business class and 102 Economy class passengers, the flights will operate on a split schedule, ensuring optimal connectivity over each airline’s respective hubs in Abu Dhabi and Riga.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The trade, cultural and leisure ties between the UAE and Latvia have never been stronger and this new direct flight marks the start of our codeshare partnership with airBaltic and the linking of the capital cities of both countries by air for the very first time. It is also the first time we are able to offer Riga as an Etihad Airways codeshare destination.
“The new route will be of huge benefit to Latvian travellers visiting Abu Dhabi for business or leisure, in addition to offering seamless connections over our hub to destinations across the globe. In tandem, it will allow Etihad Airways to offer destinations flown by airBaltic beyond its Riga hub, particularly in northern and eastern Europe.”
The UAE is one of Latvia’s main trading partners in the Gulf region. In 2012, Latvia’s exports to the UAE reached EUR 72 million, 102 per cent up on 2011, and imports from the UAE to Latvia amounted to EUR 4.1 million, up 44 per cent on 2011.*
Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic, said: “We are delighted to link Latvia and the UAE, and improve our service to the customer by substantially reducing the travel time between the two capitals and, to destinations beyond. Our code-share and interline cooperation will offer convenient connections to passengers travelling via Abu Dhabi to and from key destinations in Australia, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.”
Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ flight code on the new Riga flights, and subject to government approvals, beyond to 19 cities including: Billund, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki, Lappeenranta, Turku, Hamburg, Alesund, Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger, Vilnius, Warsaw, Stockholm, Kiev, Vienna, Prague, Barcelona and Istanbul.
In return, airBaltic will place its ‘BT’ flight code on Etihad Airways flights beyond Abu Dhabi to Cairo, Jakarta, Singapore, Bangkok, Amman and Muscat, subject to government approvals.
Mr Hogan concluded: “Global reach is beyond the capacity of any single airline and our view is that progress must come through partnership. This partnership agreement with airBaltic, our 47th codeshare, will deliver significant passenger and cargo benefits for both carriers.”
The new Riga-Abu Dhabi flights are on sale from today.
New Abu Dhabi-Riga flight schedule
*Latvia’s main exports to the UAE are machinery and electronics (66%), food products (14%), vehicles (6%), woodwork (5%) as well as chemical products and pharmacies (2%).
About Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, began operations in 2003, and in 2012 carried 10.3 million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways offers flights to 94 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, with a fleet of over 80 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and large orders for additional aircraft including 41 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 10 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Etihad Airways also holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus, and subject to regulatory approval will acquire a 24 per cent stake in India’s Jet Airways. Etihad Airways also will acquire 49 per cent of Air Serbia from January 2014. For more information about Etihad Airways, visit: www.etihad.com
AIR BALTIC CORPORATION (airBaltic) is a joint stock company that was established in 1995. The primary shareholder is Latvian state with 99.8% of stock. The airBaltic fleet consists of 25 aircraft – five Boeing 737-500, eight Boeing 737-300 and twelve Bombardier Q400Next Gen. airBaltic offers nonstop flights from three Baltic capital cities – Riga, Vilnius, and Tallinn. airBaltic received the title of Airline of the Year 2009/2010 (Gold Award) from the European Regions Airline Association. airBaltic is the winner of Air Transport World Phoenix Award2010 – a global recognition of excellence in restructuring business. airBaltic won a special Pacesetter Award 2010 from the Jury of the Budgies World Low Cost Airline Awards, recognising achievements of airBaltic as a hybrid airline. In 2012, airBaltic was ranked by Airlinetrends among the Top 10 airlines globally for innovations.