Etihad launches Amsterdam flights, widens KLM codeshare

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Etihad Airways will launch daily flights to Amsterdam in May as part of its deepening partnership with KLM, with the carriers also preparing to significantly widen their codeshare agreement.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier initially struck a codeshare deal with Air France-KLM in October, covering 10 routes.

Expanding that agreement, Etihad now says it will launch its own daily flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam on 15 May. The Gulf carrier will deploy Airbus A330-200s, seating 262 passengers in a two-class configuration and complementing KLM's existing Abu Dhabi service.

Etihad chief executive James Hogan, speaking in Amsterdam to unveil the new route, emphasised the $3.6 billion in bilateral trade between the two countries, as well as highlighting the mutually beneficial traffic flows.

"It's about connectivity and how the Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam hubs benefit," says Hogan. "Step-by-step, the partnership continues to grow."

Etihad will also add its code to 14 additional KLM flights - 13 destinations in Europe plus Toronto. In return, KLM will put its code on 13 Etihad flights, including a number to Indian cities.

"We have far more possibilities now to India and Australia," says KLM chief executive Peter Hartman. "It's a long list of cities and we will add more. This is just the beginning. Be assured it will be widened."