By Charlotte Seet
Etihad Returns To Medina, Broadens Aeroflot Partnership
The re-opening of international borders has re-allowed the influx of business and leisure travellers, and slowly but surely, passengers travelling for religious significance are allowed as well.
In mid-October, the Prophet Mosque for Medina announced the suspension of social distancing requirements and has since allowed for full-capacity attendance.
Additionally, non-resident travellers flying to Saudi Arabia no longer need to quarantine if they are full vaccinated.
Such good news of lesser restrictions is just what Etihad needed to resume flights to Medina.
It would be just in time for Etihad to provide religious, leisure and business travellers with convenient flight connectivity to major cities in the Indian Subcontinent and Asia for those travelling to and from Medina through Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi-Medina route was first introduced in 2014 and was Etihad’s fourth destination in Saudi Arabia after Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh.
Unfortunately, the route was temporarily paused during the past 19 months due to the travel restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Expressing delight of the resumption, Fatma Al Mehairi, Vice President Sales UAE at Etihad Airways, said: “We look forward to reconnecting Abu Dhabi with Medina, a city of enormous historic and religious significance for Muslims around the world. Our flights will support the growing demand for religious travel and strengthen the existing air links between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, a key travel market for Etihad Airways.”
Starting from Nov. 7, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier will operate flight services from Abu Dhabi to Medina on a three-times-weekly schedule, on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays.
Considering that the flight time between Abu Dhabi and Medina is just three house, Etihad is planning to utilize its two-class configured Airbus A321 – which is the fleet primarily used for short-haul flights within the Gulf states.
On the other side of the globe, Etihad is also making moves by transferring all Russian operations to the brand-new Terminal C at Moscow Sheremetyevo Alexander S. Pushkin International Airport.
The first departure to the airport will be a rather special one, as it is scheduled to take place on the 13th anniversary of Etihad’s first direct flight service to Moscow in December of 2008.
In addition, the big move will be accompanied by daily flight services between Abu Dhabi and Moscow, further enhancing the already-strong connectivity.
The daily flights will be operated using a mix of both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft, including Etihad’s flagship jet, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
And that’s not all. The Gulf carrier’s big move will also be complemented by the launch of a broader partnership with Russia’s national airline group, Aeroflot.
Set to start from Nov. 13, Aeroflot will launch its first-ever services to Abu Dhabi on a three-times-weekly schedule.
“We are proud to announce Etihad will be moving to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, and broadening our relationship with the national carrier, Aeroflot,” says Alex Featherstone, Vice President Network Planning and Alliances, Etihad Airways.
He also adds that the big move additionally reinforces Etihad’s commitment to the Russian market, which continues to experience continuous progressions and strong demand from business and leisure travellers.