Etihad Airways has launched its first scheduled flights between Abu Dhabi and the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, the airline announced on Saturday.
The inaugural flight – EY297 – left Abu Dhabi on Saturday carrying a delegation of diplomats, dignitaries, media representatives and members of Etihad’s management.
Upon arrival in Baku, the aircraft was greeted with a traditional water cannon salute, as well as a display of UAE and Azerbaijani national flags from the windows of the cockpit.
“We are tremendously excited to be launching scheduled flights between Abu Dhabi and Baku, the only scheduled service linking the two capitals,” said Etihad CEO Peter Baumgartner. “There is strong demand from both markets for a direct, full-service operation on the route, and we have responded to this increasing customer requirement.”
Baumgartner added that the visa waiver programme introduced for UAE nationals traveling to Abu Dhabi in 2015 “greatly stimulated” interest in the country, resulting in significant uptick in the number of visitors to the country.
The new service will fly three times a week – on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – using a 136-seat Airbus A320, configured with 16 Business Class Seats and 120 in Economy.
Recently, Etihad announced a codeshare partnership with Azerbaijan Airlines, which will see the airline place its “J2” code on Etihad services between Baku and Abu Dhabi.
"Azerbaijan Airlines and Etihad Airways are long-standing partners in civil aviation,” said Jahangir Asgarov, President of Azerbaijan Airlines CJSC.
“The launch of joint flights between our two airlines will allow Azerbaijani citizens to further expand their global reach, attracting increased numbers of tourists and creating more opportunities for business travellers."
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