New York will become Etihad Airways' 35th destination when the Abu Dhabi-based airline starts flights to JFK on October 26 this year.
Etihad's chairman, HH Dr. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saif Al Nahyan, says of the new route: "By connecting Abu Dhabi and New York, we are once again illustrating the ambitions we have at Etihad Airways to service the world's most strategically important cities and regions."
Flight EY503 will depart Abu Dhabi International Airport daily at 1415, arriving in New York at 2125 (2025 after BST ends). On the return leg, flight EY504 will depart at 2310 (2210 at the end of BST) and arrive in Abu Dhabi the following day at 2025.
The timings of the new route mean travellers can make good connections from other cities in the gulf region and the Indian continent and fly onwards to the US. Etihad passengers flying from Bahrain on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays arrive in Abu Dhabi at 1210 in time for the new flight to New York. Wednesday flights from Delhi arrive at 1030, and Mumbai flights on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays arrive at 1050.
Currently British Airways flights leave Abu Dhabi early morning at 0200 arriving New York at 1115 (via LHR) and Turkish Airlines, which flies Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays leaves Abu Dhabi 0235 arriving New York at 1535 (via Istanbul).
For passengers flying from New York to Abu Dhabi it is also possible to connect to daily flights to Muscat and Bahrain at 2130 (Doha everyday except Tuesday) and Mumbai at 2310.
The New York route will be served by the new Airbus 340-500, in a three-class configuration carrying 240 passengers (12 in first, 28 in business and 200 in economy). Passengers flying in Diamond (First) will experience the new Diamond Zone seats, which recline to fully flat and can rotate 180 degrees so that passengers can hold meetings and talk to each other (see online news July 5).
Lead in return fares from New York to Abu Dhabi in economy are £612 plus taxes and business class fares from £2,035 plus taxes.
In other news Etihad is also planning new routes to Osaka and Shanghai, to be launched later in 2006.
Other recent new routes for Etihad were Casablanca and Doha which launched in June and from July the airline started flying to Kuwait six times a week (everyday except Tuesday), and Khartoum, thrice weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Sunday).
Report by Felicity Cousins