Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, welcomed the arrival of its codeshare partner NIKI’s inaugural flight from Vienna to Abu Dhabi this evening, with the new service offering a direct connection between the UAE and Austria’s capital cities for the first time.
The daily service is operated using a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft with 12 Business Class and 132 Economy Class seats. Etihad Airways has placed its ‘EY’ code on the service as part of a codeshare agreement with NIKI, and connects the flights with leading destinations across its network in the Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent, North and South Asia, and Australia.
A number of events were held at Abu Dhabi International Airport to celebrate the new service, including a traditional water canon salute and ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by NIKI Managing Director Christian Lesjak, Etihad Airways Senior Vice President Global Sales James Mueller, and Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) Chief Operations Officer Ahmed Al Haddabi.
NIKI is the seventh airline to enroll onto the Etihad Partners program, alongside airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, India’s Jet Airways, Darwin Airline, and Etihad Airways. The program, launched in October 2014, differs from legacy airline alliances by offering benefits beyond pure commercial cooperation, including network and frequent flyer alignment.
In addition, partners will benefit from economies of scale and operational synergies, such as centres of excellence, shared sales teams in certain destinations, joint procurement of services and supplies, and shared pilot and crew training at Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi facilities.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “We congratulate NIKI on the start of its Vienna to Abu Dhabi service today. This is the airline’s first long-haul route and also marks the debut of its impressive new business class offering. In addition, it is important as a codeshare route that allows Etihad Airways to provide direct access for the first time between Abu Dhabi and Vienna, a leading European economic, political and cultural centre, and connect the route with a range of other destinations across our extensive global network.”