Etihad Airways is celebrating three years of its non-stop service between Abu Dhabi and Moscow.

The airline commenced operations to the Russian capital on December 1, 2008, and since then has carried almost 200,000 travellers on the route.

Five weekly flights became a daily service in 2009, and seat load factors have increased in each year of operation.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said, “With the addition of a number of new network connections in 2011, we are on track to carry a record number of passengers on the Abu Dhabi-Moscow route this year”.

Etihad Airways operates a two-cabin Airbus A320 aircraft between Abu Dhabi and Moscow.  This configuration means 1,904 seats a week – 224 in Pearl Business, and 1,680 in Coral Economy.

Guests travelling to Moscow in Pearl Business have access to Etihad Airways’ premium complementary door-to-door luxury limousine service, complete with a personal chauffeur (within the Moscow MKAD Ring Road to and from the airport).

Since May 2010, the airline has also made it easier for Russian nationals to obtain a UAE visiting visa, through the TT Services online visa application centre.

In August this year, Etihad Airways expanded its codeshare agreement with Russia’s S7 Airlines.  The revised deal allows Etihad Airways and S7 passengers to book flights from four Russian regional cities, Kazan (KZN), Samara (KUF), Krasnodar (KRR) and Saint Petersburg (LED) for travel to and from Abu Dhabi and beyond, connecting with Etihad Airways’ daily Moscow services.