Etihad Airways adds flights to Shanghai as China travel demand grows

Twice-weekly flights to Pudong International Airport to start in February

Etihad Airways is set to strengthen air connectivity between the UAE and China next year, starting with an additional weekly frequency on its Abu Dhabi – Shanghai route. Photo: Etihad Airways
Powered by automated translation

Etihad Airways will increase flight frequency on its Abu Dhabi-Shanghai route as demand for travel to and from China grows, the airline said.

The news comes after the Asian country announced easing of Covid restrictions from January.

The airline will operate an additional weekly passenger flight to Shanghai's Pudong International Airport (PVG), taking its services to two per week, starting from February, Etihad said.

"China is a market of primary importance to Etihad, and as one of the country's largest financial and economic centres, Shanghai plays a crucial role in our network," Martin Drew, senior vice president of global sales and cargo at Etihad Aviation Group, said.

"Etihad is committed to developing our operation to China, and we look forward to welcoming more travellers on board in the new year."

China will stop requiring inbound travellers to go into quarantine from January 8, marking a major step towards easing border curbs after three years of closure. Zero-tolerance measures — from shuttered borders to frequent lockdowns — since early 2020 have hampered its international travel market.

Etihad's announcement follows the launch of non-stop flights between Abu Dhabi and Guangzhou in October, operating long-haul passenger flights to the top three Chinese gateways.

The airline said it marked a milestone in China earlier this year when it restarted the first regular international passenger flight to Beijing, as the capital reopened for international direct travel in June.

Global airlines are expected to collectively earn a net profit of $4.7 billion on revenues of $779 billion next year for the first time since 2019, as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic, according to the International Air Transport Association's (Iata) report this month.

That outlook anticipates a gradual reopening of China to international traffic and the easing of domestic Covid-19 restrictions progressively from the second half of next year. A prolongation of China’s zero-Covid policies would adversely affect the outlook, Iata said.

Updated: May 19, 2023, 4:13 PM