Etihad is planning to launch additional year-round flights from its hub in Abu Dhabi to both Egypt and Nigeria. The new flights are intended to cater to growing demand for flights into and out of the United Arab Emirates.
“With the convenience of Abu Dhabi’s geographical position, we are providing timely flight connections between our capital city in the UAE and both Cairo and Lagos for the benefit of our travellers and the movement of freight,” said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways Commercial Executive Vice President.
Emirates plans to fly to Cairo five times per day instead of four, effective October 1, 2017. This will increase weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Cairo to 35 instead of the current 24. The flight will leave Abu Dhabi during the mid-morning and will return from Cairo during the afternoon. The airline will temporarily increase frequency during peak summer weeks before making the change permanent. The new service will allow passengers to connect to cities like Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur more easily when faced with a stopover in Cairo.
This new flight comes amid good financial standing between the two states. Last year, bilateral trade between the UAE and Egypt totaled almost USD$400 million. GDP growth in Egypt is expected to be 3.5% this year, and tourist arrivals in the northern African nation are expected to increase to 5.4 million this year.
“Cairo is the largest point to point market from Abu Dhabi enjoying an increase in tourist traffic to Egypt,” said Al Bulooki. “Our additional flights demonstrate the importance of the strong historic ties between the UAE and Egypt, and our continued support of the growth of bilateral trade and Egypt’s tourism industry.”
Flight EY647 will depart Abu Dhabi at 10:50am local time and arrive in Cairo at 12:40pm local time. The return flight, EY648, will depart Cairo at 2:45pm local time and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 8:30pm local time.
Service increases to Lagos will also go into effect this year. Etihad plans to add new Saturday service on December 2, 2017. The flight increases weekly service to five flights a week, instead of the current four. Similar to the Cairo flight, new service to Lagos will help customers to connect to other cities, including Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kuala Lumpur.
The new service will depart from Abu Dhabi as EY673 at 2:30am local time. It will land in Lagos at 7:30am local time. The return flight, EY674, will leave Lagos at 9:00am and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 7:50pm local time.
“Lagos is one of our largest direct markets in Sub-Saharan Africa that is showing signs of strength as Nigeria recovers from recession. Against this backdrop, our additional flights will help facilitate the growth,” said Al Bulooki.
Nigeria’s GDP growth rate is projected to double to 1.9% by 2018. This is largely due to expanding manufacturing, financial, and technology sectors that duel demand for more air travel into and out of the country.