Number 69 for Etihad has a Chinese flavour

Etihad announce it is launching its 69th route, this time to China's Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

Etihad announce it is launching its 69th route, this time to China's Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Andrew Parsons / The National
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Etihad Airways is launched its 69th route this time to Chengdu in southwest China subject to government approval.

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From December 15 Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and the airline's 69th destination, will be connected to the airline's hub and home base in Abu Dhabi by four non-stop return services per week.

Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said the airline's new Abu Dhabi-Chengdu service would provide the first ever flight link between the United Arab Emirates and Sichuan province.

"The new Chengdu services will connect the UAE with the economic centre and transportation and communication hub of China's booming southwest region.

"This will further stimulate the growth of commerce and trade between the UAE and China, already the UAE's third largest trading partner.

"It will also provide a new, more convenient gateway into southwest China for business and leisure travellers from Europe and the Middle East and a faster, new route to Europe and the Middle East for the rapidly growing Chinese outbound travel market.

"With the purchasing power of the Chinese consumer rising in synch with annual GDP growth of 7.5 per cent to 2030, the Chinese travel market has enormous latent potential. The new service will position Etihad strongly to grow its services to daily and beyond."

Chairman of Sichuan Airport Group Mr Li Wei said: "Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport has been focusing on the construction of infrastructure, the soft environment and consistent improvement of service levels.

"Etihad Airways is a reputable and well-established airline. We are glad to see Etihad starting a direct service from Chengdu to Abu Dhabi, and we look forward to having more airlines here."

Etihad will operate an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration on the sector - offering 22 Pearl Business class and 240 Coral Economy class seats.