Etihad Airway will launch a four-times-a-week service between Abu Dhabi and Dublin on July 2, 2007.

The route will be operated with an Airbus A330-200, offering cargo capacity of 14 tons in each direction.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: ‘There is enormous demand for this new Etihad frequent service between these two rapidly expanding economies. Trade ties have increased considerably during the last decade and Etihad looks forward to supporting further growth when our flights start soon.’

Annual trade figures between the two countries for 2006 stood at more than US$ 343 million (AED 1.25 billion), an increase of nearly 40% from the previous year. The predictions are that this figure could double further for 2007.

The importance of UAE-Ireland trade links, as well as Etihad’s new four flights-per-week service to Dublin, was highlighted earlier this year during an Irish trade visit led by the country’s Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

The UAE’s exports to Ireland increased by 38% in 2006 that included a 44% rise in manufactured metals and a 22% increase in electrical machinery.

Among the many commodities imported by the UAE from Ireland are pharmaceuticals, which increased by more than 200% last year, as well as computers and telecommunications equipment.

The service starts on July 2, with flight EY045 departing from Abu Dhabi at 2.05am on Mondays and Fridays, arriving in Dublin at 7.35am, and flight EY041 departing from Abu Dhabi at 1.55pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays, arriving in Dublin at 7.25pm the same day.

The return flight, EY042 departs Dublin at 10.15am on Mondays and Fridays, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 8.35pm the same day, and EY048 departing Dublin at 9.10pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 7.30am (+1).