By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi-based carrier says services to capital of Netherlands will start on May 15
Etihad Airways said on Tuesday that it will launch daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, in May.
The new EY77 and EY78 services will begin on Wednesday May 15 and carry the KL code of Dutch national carrier, KLM, Etihad said in a statement.
The daily flights will complement KLM's current service between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi which will increase to daily from the summer and carry Etihad Airways' EY code, it added.
James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: "We are delighted that Amsterdam will become a part Etihad Airways' global network from May 15."
The Dutch capital will become the 17th European city on Etihad's network which also includes Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London and Paris.
He added: "The double daily service between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi will benefit passengers looking to travel from the Netherlands to Abu Dhabi and beyond to destinations like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia."
"This is indicative of Abu Dhabi's growing importance as a global hub."
He said strong demand for the Etihad service is anticipated from the Dutch community in the UAE which consists of more than 5,000 expats and 300 companies.
Bilateral trade between the Netherlands and UAE is currently valued at $3.6bn.
The codeshare expansion will also see Etihad placing its EY code on KLM flights to Stockholm, Aberdeen, Barcelona, Bergen, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Leeds/Bradford, Madrid, Nice and Toronto.
Etihad Airways and strategic partner Air France-KLM unveiled plans to work together on codeshare routes, commercial development and cost synergies in October. The agreement expanded the UAE flag carrier's network to 337 destinations.