Etihad Airways’ direct non-stop flights between Abu Dhabi and Madrid bring more choice for travellers as the airline connects Spain to its rapidly expanding flight network.
Speaking at a media gathering in Madrid to mark the start of the new capital to capital link, James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said the airline’s global network brings major benefits to Spain and delivers enhanced flight connections to and from the country.
The event was attended by the UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, Her Excellency Dr Hissa Abdulla Ahmed Al-Otaiba.
Mr Hogan said: “Our new Madrid service gives Spanish business and leisure travellers greater access to the UAE with a total of 2,096 weekly seats on offer. It also provides convenient two-way connections via our Abu Dhabi hub to important markets on Etihad Airways’ strong global network.”
The Madrid service is operated four times per week by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with a total of 262 seats in a two-class configuration: 22 Business Class and 240 Economy Class.
Air travellers can now fly from Madrid, with one stop in Abu Dhabi and connect conveniently onto 30 destinations across the Gulf region, Africa, Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia, through Etihad Airways and its partner airlines.
From Madrid, travellers can connect on the network of Etihad Airways’ codeshare partner, Air Europa, to eight cities in Spain including Barcelona, Bilbao, Gran Canaria, La Coruna, Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife and Vigo, and also to Santo Domingo – the capital of the Dominican Republic.
Still more Spanish cities open up a result of Etihad Airways’ recently signed interline agreement with Spanish rail operator, Renfe. The agreement gives travellers rail transport options beyond Madrid to 28 Spanish cities including Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia. Guests can also book connections between Barcelona and eight points in Spain.
“The greater choice for travellers is a testament to the depth and strength of our business model. Our partnership strategy enables us to work with other airlines to offer more flights, to more destinations with more connections,” Mr Hogan said.
In addition to providing access for business travellers and holidaymakers, Mr Hogan said the new service between Abu Dhabi and Madrid will also drive and support the trade and cultural ties between the UAE and Spain.
“Currently around 1,000 Spanish companies operate and more than 12,000 Spanish nationals live and work in the UAE and these numbers are growing. The UAE is Spain’s largest trade partner across the Gulf region, with trade volumes almost doubling in the last five years – from EUR 1 billion in 2009 to EUR 1.9 billion in 2014,” said Mr Hogan.
Economic cooperation and investment between the two countries has also witnessed considerable growth across multiple sectors including petrochemicals, construction, education, health care, transportation and tourism, and in the small and medium-sized business sector. There are also significant Spanish investments in desalination, water treatment and renewable projects in the UAE.
To support the growing trade, Etihad Airways is offering 96-tonnes of weekly cargo capacity to and from Madrid, which allows Spanish businesses increased access to global markets, yielding benefits to the country’s economic output.