Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, commenced scheduled services between its hub in Abu Dhabi and Chengdu in southwest China.
 
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, will be served by four non-stop, return services per week.
 
The Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways James Hogan said the new route had special significance as the first and only direct flight link between Sichuan province and the United Arab Emirates.
 
“This is a day of celebration for the airline and the communities at both ends of the route.
 
“The new services will open convenient new gateways for travel to and from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and stimulate growth of trade between the UAE and China, already the Emirates’ third largest trading partner.”
 
Mr Hogan said forecast demand from the passenger and cargo sectors was strong and the airline expected to go daily when commercially viable.
 
“The Chengdu Municipal Government and airport authorities have been great supporters and we look forward to working together to make the route a commercial success.”
 
The Mayor of Chengdu Mr Honglin Ge said: “The Chengdu Municipal Government and airport authorities have been great supporters from the very beginning and we look forward to working together to make the route a success.”
 
“The commencement of Etihad Airways services to Chengdu is an exciting event for the people of Chengdu and we are delighted to welcome them joining us to promote the development of an air transport hub in Chengdu.”
 
Etihad Airways will operate a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the sector with 22 Pearl Business class and 240 Coral Economy class seats.
 
In other major developments this week, Etihad Airways signed a codeshare agreement with Hainan Airlines applicable to flights from Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu to Abu Dhabi and Khartoum, and exchanged a Letter of Intent with Sichuan Airlines Co Ltd covering broad areas of commercial cooperation.
 
 
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