By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi carrier announces plan to fly to Italy's capital city in July 2014 subject to regulatory approval
Etihad Airways will launch daily non-stop flights from Abu Dhabi to Rome, Italy's capital city, next summer, subject to regulatory approvals.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline said the services will start on July 15 2014 when Rome Fiumicino airport will become Etihad's second Italian gateway after Milan Malpensa. The route will be operated by an Airbus A330-200, Etihad said in a statement.
Rome is one of the world's most visited cities, attracts business and leisure travellers year-round, and with the historic Vatican City within its environs, is a major pilgrimage site. The city is also a hub for Etihad Airways' codeshare partner, Alitalia.
James Hogan, Etihad's president and CEO, said: "Since we started operations to Milan back in 2007, Etihad Airways' passenger and freighter operations between Italy and the UAE have gone from strength to strength.
"Abu Dhabi-Rome will extend our geographic presence in the Italian market even further, create an additional entry point to Europe with excellent onward connectivity options, and strengthen the already strong trade and leisure ties between Italy and the UAE."
Etihad Airways already places its EY flight code on Alitalia's existing Abu Dhabi-Rome services and beyond to cities such as Milan, Bucharest, Sofia, Vienna, Venice, Madrid, Malaga, Budapest, Malta and Barcelona.
The UAE is Italy's top trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa region, home to more than 3,000 Italian citizens, 90 Italian companies, and 390 Italian trade agencies. Business is booming with Italian exports to the UAE up 16 percent in 2012 to $6 billion.