Etihad increases flights to South Africa

Etihad Airways will increase capacity to South Africa this summer because of rising demand after South African Airways ended a similar route last month.

The three extra flights per week between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg will operate from July to September, the airline said yesterday.

Through its Abu Dhabi airport hub, Etihad said it can offer travellers from South Africa further access to holiday destinations in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Australia and the United States.

The number of South African guest arrivals into Abu Dhabi rose 42 per cent year-on-year to 26,147 last year, according to Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).

“We want to build on this momentum and increase our visibility to a huge potential market,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, the director of promotions and overseas offices at TCA Abu Dhabi.

The organisation opened an office in Johannesburg last year to attract visitors from the country to the UAE capital.

South African Airways (SAA) on March 1 ceased its operations between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi. It also scrapped its codesharing deal with Etihad. The two airlines signed their partnership in 2013.

The financially struggling African carrier said: “The decision follows extensive analysis and efforts to make the route sustainable.”

Etihad is now able pick up the traffic left behind by the SAA flight.

The three extra weekly flights will be complementary to the existing daily flight between the two cities. The flights will be operated by a combination of Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 777 aircraft. The flights will provide 2,200 additional seats for business class and another 21,500 for economy class over the three months.

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