Etihad Airways operated its first flight from Abu Dhabi to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, on Friday, June 12, as the UAE’s national airline took citizens back home.
The flight also carried humanitarian aid from the UAE government, to help the Central American country in its fight against Covid-19.
The deployed Boeing 787-9 additionally landed in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, ensuring Dominican nationals in the UAE were also returned safely home.
Normal passenger flights from the UAE were suspended on Tuesday, March 24, in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Etihad Airways has since operated numerous repatriation flights and provided humanitarian aid to a number of cities and countries, some of which were not in the airline’s network. This includes Bogota, Bucharest, Kiev, Larnaca, Auckland, Zagreb, Dhaka, Erbil, Kabul, Addis Ababa and Harare.
On Friday, June 5, the airline flew its first flight to Cuba, returning Cuban nationals to Havana. Taking off from Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad pilots flew the Boeing 777-300 jet for 21 hours and 25 minutes to land at Jose Marti International Airport, just outside Cuba's capital.
Any passengers travelling now must observe onboard social-distancing measures, including wearing face masks and gloves throughout the flight. Etihad crew don personal protective equipment during service.
The charter flight to Costa Rica is one of more than 2,500 flights that Etihad has piloted to 101 cities since airports in the UAE closed.
The airline has also launched a transfer service linking 20 cities in Europe, Asia and Australia, via Abu Dhabi, with flights commencing on Wednesday, June 10.
In a bid to promote future tourism, Etihad Airways has also revealed a couple of new campaigns to help passengers save money. This includes the launch of travel vouchers, which can be purchased and redeemed on flights taken within the next two years.
The airline pledged to give customers 50 per cent of the value of vouchers purchased as additional credit. For example, it will add Dh500 to a Dh1,000 voucher, giving travellers Dh1,500 to spend in total.
The deal is only available on vouchers purchased by Etihad Guest members before Wednesday, June 24. They can then be redeemed on journeys from Saturday, August 1, with credit valid until August 1, 2022. Vouchers can also be used to pay for extras, such as seat selection, upgrades or extra baggage allowance.
“Now, more than ever, we want to give the world something to look forward to," said Robin Kamark, chief commercial officer at Etihad Aviation Group.