Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, which flies to famous Moroccan destination of Casablanca since June 2006, announced a second destination in the country. The inaugural flight welcomed yesterday afternoon with a traditional water cannon salute and a ceremony attended by Morocco’s Minister of Tourism Lahcen Haddad, and the UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, His Excellency Al Asri Saeed Al Dhaheri.
Etihad’s new route to Rabat, which is a historical city that has grown in appeal for business and leisure travelers, will be a twice-weekly service, operated by three-class Airbus A340-500 aircraft. The new Abu Dhabi – Rabat route is the only direct commercial air link between the two capital cities. With existing daily services on the Abu Dhabi – Casablanca route, Etihad Airways has boosted its Morocco frequency to nine flights each week.
Combined with Casablanca, the Rabat route brings to nearly 4,200 the total number of seats each week on Etihad Airways’ services between the UAE and Morocco.
Like the UAE, the Moroccan Government has made significant investments in the development of its tourism industry. In 2010, the government launched its Vision 2020 which includes plans to make Morocco one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world and to double the number of international arrivals to 20 million a year by 2020.
The UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, His Excellency Al Asri Saeed Al Dhaheri, said: “There is no doubt that the new Etihad Airways route between the two Arabian capitals is a result of joint cooperation between the two countries in civil aviation. This is a further step in the development of the relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. Direct flights will contribute profoundly to the development of trade, investment and tourism. The UAE and Morocco are united by a long history of cooperation and the growth of economic and trade relations between the two countries has developed significantly over recent years.
The Abu Dhabi – Rabat flight is operated on Wednesdays and Fridays using an Airbus A340-500 with a capacity of 240 seats, offering 12 in First Class, 28 in Business, and 200 in Economy.