Etihad Airways is raising capacity from Manchester to Abu Dhabi over the Christmas period.

The airline says it is catering for high levels of demand from northern travellers.

One of its twice daily flights will switch from a 262-seat Airbus A330-200 to a 412-seat Boeing 777-300ER to give a capacity increase of 57% during December.

A range of special holiday packages to Abu Dhabi are also being introduced.

A Manchester airport spokesman said: “We are attributing the extra demand to the success of our Fly Manchester campaign, which has seen dedicated activity across our catchment area, to win back the four million-plus people who choose to travel to congested London airports, when the routes operate here in Manchester.

“The extra capacity is also a sign of increased confidence in the north of England. As well as operating a double-daily service, Etihad has its European Contact Centre on site at Manchester Airport, as well as a luxury premium lounge for passengers.”