WAM ABU DHABI, 7th November, 2013 (WAM) -- Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is to launch non-stop daily flights to Madinah from next February.
Madinah, the regional capital of the western Saudi Arabian province of Al-Madinah al Munawarah, is the second holiest city in Islam after the Holy City of Makkah.
With the addition of the new service, which will start on February 1st 2014, Etihad Airways will now offer 50 weekly flights to four destinations in Saudi Arabia.
Flights between Abu Dhabi and Madinah will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft fitted with 16 Pearl Business Class and 120 Coral Economy Class seats, offering a total 1,904 seats per week.
They will also allow maximum connectivity through Abu Dhabi for flights between Saudi Arabia and the Indian Subcontinent, Asia, GCC and Europe, as well as serving strong point-to-point traffic.
Speaking on the announcement, James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are delighted to announce the introduction of Madinah to the Etihad Airways' global flight network. Saudi Arabia has always been a key market for Etihad Airways and Madinah is therefore an important strategic destination for the airline.
"Our new flights will cater to the Saudi Arabian population living in the U.A.E., as well as to the growing numbers of business and religious travellers looking to fly to the city.
"The demand for the Umrah flights has always been very strong and with plans for the expansion of the Prophet Mohammed Mosque under way, we expect this demand to continue to grow in the future," Mr. Hogan said.
The new service to Madinah will be Etihad Airways' ninth destination in the Arabian Peninsula, joining Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat, and Sana'a.