Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today announced it would commence services to Düsseldorf in Germany from December 16, 2011.

Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is the airline’s 71st destination. It will be connected to the airline’s hub and home base in Abu Dhabi initially by four non-stop return services per week, increasing to a daily service in mid-April 2012. The route will be served by an Airbus A330-300 series aircraft, in a three-class configuration.

James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “The new Düsseldorf services will connect the capital of the UAE with the Düsseldorf catchment area – the second largest in Europe outside of London – which also includes the eastern part of the Netherlands. Düsseldorf and the region is an exciting destination too for inbound business and leisure travellers from Abu Dhabi and beyond.”

A key benefit to travellers of the non-stop Abu Dhabi-Düsseldorf service is convenient flight arrival and departure times and network connectivity at the airline’s hub.

The schedule has been designed to provide convenient departure and arrival times and seamless onward connections to Etihad’s extensive network across almost 40 markets. This includes destinations in the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Indian subcontinent, and two of the airline’s newest routes – the Maldives and Seychelles.

“Düsseldorf was the logical next step in growing our European passenger operations. By growing direct point to point traffic between the two cities, we look forward to strengthening ties between the capital of the UAE and Germany. We will do this by offering passengers great destinations, value and onward connectivity, and by forging sustainable commercial, tourism, and cultural links between the communities at both ends of the route,” Mr Hogan said.

Christoph Blume, CEO of Düsseldorf International Airport stated: “We’re delighted to welcome Etihad Airways to DüsseldorfInternationalAirport. Etihad is one of the most respected airlines in the world offering a high-class service in combination with a broad range of destinations on five continents. This is why Etihad and its base in Abu Dhabi perfectly fit with the route network expansion of Germany’s next-generation hub at Düsseldorf. Due to the economic power and the central location of both destinations in two major regions of the world, we are certain of the potential and the long-term nature of the new connection between Abu Dhabi and Düsseldorf.”