Etihad Airways celebrates the 10th anniversary of the airlines’ operations in the China market after it launched an Abu Dhabi to Beijing service in 2008, followed by Chengdu* in 2011, Shanghai in 2012 and Hong Kong in 2015.
To-date, nearly four million travelers have flown the routes which Etihad Airways operates to and from China. There are currently 28 flights per week with easy connectivity via Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub to more than 40 business and leisure destinations across the Middle East, Europe, Africa and North America.
Through the effective integration of cargo capacity on freighters and aboard passenger aircraft, Etihad Airways has carried over 400,000 tons of cargo between China and the UAE in the past ten years.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said, “We wish to express our heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous support and recognition we’ve received over the past 10 years from our guests and all our stakeholders. They have all been instrumental in cementing Etihad’s position as a leading airline in this market and beyond.”
In order to offer maximum convenience to passengers, Etihad Airways has forged codeshare partnerships with Hainan Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.
Etihad Airways upgraded the Shanghai and Beijing services to its state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2016 and 2017, respectively, in order to further meet the strong demands of Chinese passengers for a more comfortable, personalized and memorable travel experience.
Mr. Baumgartner added: “We feel extremely proud to be witnessing and participating in what has been a decade of rapid development in China’s tourism and aviation markets. These industries are undergoing disruptive changes, both in China and across the world, with digitalization gradually becoming an important driver in this field. In the past decade, innovative and cutting-edge products and services such as The Residence, Inflight Chef, Food & Beverage Manager, and Flying Nanny – as well as distribution technology – such as the online flagship store on the Alitrip platform - distinguished Etihad Airways in a competitive market.”
“While we will continue to offer an unparalleled experience for all our guests, we recognize that Etihad Airways needs to continue to proactively take into account increasingly diverse customer needs and to consistently evolve our value proposition to offer a tailored product and service to all our customers. We believe that in the future the best airlines will be those that empower travelers by providing them the freedom to choose a product that is customized and personalized to satisfy their individual requirements.”
H.E. Dr. Ali Al Dhaheri, the UAE Ambassador to China, said, “For many years, the UAE has been the second largest trading partner and the largest export market of China in the West Asia and North Africa Region. China is the largest trading partner of UAE now, and UAE is the one receiving largest investment from China in Middle East. The UAE is a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and is committed to its central mission of bringing the Belt and Road vision to life. As a key aviation hub in the Gulf region, the UAE and Abu Dhabi will continue to play a critical role in the global collaboration under the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, using the strong global network of Etihad Airways.”
HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General, Department of Culture and Tourism, added: “China has grown to become the largest overseas source market for Abu Dhabi hotel guest arrivals. Abu Dhabi welcomed nearly 380,000 tourists from China in 2017, a highly impressive increase of 61 per cent over the previous year and in January we recorded a further 10 per cent year-on-year rise. Recent developments such as the visa on arrival scheme, implemented in 2016 has and will further drive Abu Dhabi’s growth as an emerging key destination for Chinese passengers.”
Mr. Peter Baumgartner concluded: “China is and will continue to be one of the most important markets for Etihad Airways. Looking to the coming decade, Etihad Airways will continue to fulfil and enhance its comprehensive commitment to China, focus on diverse customer needs, and offer tailored travel options for all our guests.”