Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is celebrating five years of its non-stop services between Paris and Abu Dhabi.
The airline commenced operations to the French capital in May 2006, and since then has carried more than 770,000 travellers and nearly 51,500 tons of cargo on the route.
The Abu Dhabi-Paris route has enjoyed average passenger loads of 75 per cent over its first five years and has grown to 77 per cent so far in 2011.
The amount of cargo carried has tripled since the start of operations to France, from 5,000 tons to 15,000 tons annually.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our Paris operation has exceeded our expectations over the past five years, and we are pleased to be able to build on this success with the additional frequency we put in place in July this year, going double-daily.
“This year we will carry 200,000 travellers on the Abu Dhabi-Paris route, up 16 per cent from 173,000 in 2010. By April 2012, we expect to have carried one million travellers overall on the route since its inception.
“A logical step for us is to open a signature Etihad premium lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport, and I’m delighted to announce that we have started planning this.”
Etihad operates a three-cabin Airbus A330 and a three-cabin Airbus A340 aircraft between Abu Dhabi and Paris. This configuration means 7,124 seats a week – 304 Diamond First, 912 Pearl Business, and 5,908 Coral Economy seats.
The state-of-the-art aircraft used on the Abu Dhabi–Paris sector ensure Etihad guests enjoy the inflight comfort and operational reliability of one of the world’s youngest fleets.
Paris is one of the top destinations on Etihad’s network of 72 destinations.
In addition to carrying passengers between Abu Dhabi and Paris, Etihad offers seamless connections to many popular onward destinations including Bangkok, Chennai, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Narita, Sydney, the Seychelles and Maldives.
“By year end, we forecast we will turnover US$4 billion, have carried 8.4 million travellers, and have 1.3 million Etihad Guest members.
"All this will have been achieved despite a still fragile global economy and, at times, challenging operating conditions.
“We remain committed to building the Etihad brand in the French market, offering customers great choice, connectivity, and value. Working closely with our new codeshare partner SNCF French Railways, the travel industry, the business community and governments, we look