Etihad Airways has announced it will fly a new daily service between Abu Dhabi and Tokyo, beginning next year from the 2nd April 2013.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline was the first Middle Eastern carrier to launch operations to the Japanese capital in March 2010, and with five non-stop flights a week to Tokyo’s Narita airport, the airline has since carried approximately 160,000 travellers between the two cities.
The daily service will support traffic growth between Abu Dhabi and Japan and connecting traffic to onward GCC destinations, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The additional services will also improve the connectivity in Abu Dhabi by 40 per cent.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, believes the airline’s increase to daily flights will see a further strengthening of the close trade, tourism and cultural ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Japan.
“Since launching, we have been proud to say that we were the first Middle Eastern carrier to operate to Tokyo, and as expected there has been a high volume of traffic on the route, particularly from business travellers,” Mr Hogan said.
“Japan has been, and will continue to be, a key market for Etihad Airways and we look forward to playing an integral role in strengthening ties between the two countries. Abu Dhabi’s tourism offering has also developed rapidly in the past two years, and we believe there are significant opportunities to grow the Japanese leisure travel market as well.”
The daily flights to Tokyo will be operated by a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured with 22 Pearl Business class and 240 Coral Economy class seats. The airline offers range of in-flight services tailored to the particular needs of the Japanese market. This includes a special menu, Japanese language in-flight entertainment content and cabin crew comprising Japanese nationals and Japanese speakers.
The launch of Etihad Airways’ Tokyo services followed the commencement of the airline’s flights to Nagoya in early 2010. A codeshare partnership with premium Japanese carrier ANA was established at the same time. Including flights to Nagoya, Etihad Airways has carried approximately 230,000 guests between Japan and the UAE.
There are more than 300 Japanese companies and nearly 3,500 Japanese expatriates living in the UAE.
To forge close ties with the Japanese community, Etihad Airways formed a strong partnership with the Japanese Government to enable the start of services between the two capital cities and at the time of launching its services hosted a Japanese Cultural Week.
Etihad Airways will also add depth and frequency into its existing network with extra flights to go daily to Casablanca starting 28th March, 2013.