Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways has announced plans to launch a third daily flight to Saudi capital Riyadh from February 1, 2017.
Flight EY 351 will depart Abu Dhabi at 9.00pm and arrive in Riyadh at 10.00pm. The return flight EY 352 will leave from the Saudi capital at 10.50pm and arrive in the UAE capital at 1.35am the following day.
The new service will be operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft.
The new daily late night departures from both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh are timed to allow guests to spend full days in either city, a statement said.
Arrivals into Abu Dhabi International Airport will provide more connections to early morning services to Europe, North America and the Indian Subcontinent. These include London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Delhi and Mumbai.
Together with a Boeing 777 and the recently-introduced Boeing 787 on the route, the new service will increase the number of weekly seats to 10,600 between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. Codeshare partner flynas will continue to operate a daily flight on the route.
Kevin Knight, Etihad Aviation Group chief strategy and planning officer, said: “Our expanded services between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh are in line with Etihad Airways’ strategy to offer more choice, greater frequency and additional travel options when aircraft availability and market conditions permit.
“The extra flights will cater to the strong demand between the two capital cities, and bring closer our global network to Riyadh over our Abu Dhabi hub.”
Etihad Airways launched scheduled flights to Saudi with services to Riyadh in 2004, and has steadily grown capacity with additional frequencies and aircraft upgrades to its current double daily operation.
The airline has flown more than 2.5 million passengers since 2004 on the Riyadh route alone, it said.
From February 1, the airline will operate 70 return flights each week to and from four Saudi cities. Etihad’s flights to Riyadh, Jeddah, Madinah and Dammam are complemented by Saudi codeshare partner flynas.