The service will be served by an Airbus A320-200, with 16 seats in business and 120 in economy. The route will provide more travel options for guests travelling between the UAE and Istanbul as well as access to over thirty two-way connected markets and over 240 weekly connections around the world over the Abu Dhabi hub.
The airline already operates a daily service to Istanbul Ataturk Airport but market demand has created an opportunity to deploy additional capacity into Sabiha Gokcen. The airport is an increasingly popular gateway for visitors to Istanbul and the southern section of the region. It is well connected to other domestic cities on the Asian side of the city, including Yalova and Bursa.
James Hogan, president and chief executive officer for Etihad Airways, said, “Istanbul is a critically important market within our global network and we plan to serve both city airports to support our wider expansion plans. We have seen an increasing number of guests travelling between both the United Arab Emirates and Turkey and we want this trend to continue and grow during 2016.
“The timing of the service is excellent to attract local travelers between Abu Dhabi and Istanbul, whilst also enabling seamless connectivity with markets in the GCC, Indian Sub-Continent, Northern Asia, Southern Asia and Australia.”
Istanbul is one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations thanks to its major attractions, cultural heritage and history. Located where Asia and Europe meet, visitors will gain access to attractions that include ancient mosques, palaces, monuments and traditional bazaars.
Etihad Airways originally launched services to Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey in June 2009. Today the airline operates a daily service on the Airbus A330, with full network connectivity.
Istanbul Ataturk is already such a popular destination within the Etihad Airways network, that it will host one of the airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are also being added to other cities such as Dusseldorf, Perth, Shanghai and Johannesburg during 2016.