Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways returns to Beijing after two-year hiatus due to COVID-19

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Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has resumed passenger flights between Abu Dhabi and Beijing after a two-year COVID-19-induced hiatus.

Etihad Airways inaugural flight EY888 landed in Beijing on Thursday at 05:25 (local time), becoming the first regular direct international passenger service to return to Beijing under the latest mandate of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council in response to COVID-19.

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The flight is the first direct passenger service from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE to Beijing, capital of the People’s Republic of China, since 23 March 2020.

On board the flight were UAE diplomats, employees of Chinese enterprises with investments in the UAE, business travellers and students.

Tony Douglas, group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Today marks a significant moment in Etihad’s history as passenger flights resume to Beijing for the first time in over 800 days.”

“The direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Beijing will undoubtedly facilitate the deepening of bilateral cooperation in various fields and promote stronger bonds among the people of the two nations.”

“As global travel restrictions rapidly ease, Etihad is equipped to further increase operations to China and meet the rising demand from travellers in both locations to support the recovery of economic and social activities worldwide.” Douglas added.

Ahmed Al Qubaisi, senior vice president of government international and communications, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad’s flight today is a testament to the successful comprehensive strategic partnership between both capitals and demonstrates the joint determination of both governments to build upon it. Etihad is tremendously grateful to be part of this moment and to contribute to the increasingly close ties between the UAE and China.”

“Etihad continues to deliver on its commitment to facilitating a resilient and prosperous air bridge between the UAE and China, and beyond. This maintains passenger and cargo movement and supports economic and political exchanges between both nations.”

Following the inaugural flight, the regular weekly service will commence on 6 July, and will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, featuring Business and Economy cabins.

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