Etihad first flew to Bahrain 15 years ago today

Over 2.5 million passengers have flown the Abu Dhabi to Manama route and there are now 28 flights per week

Bahrain, Manama, View of city skyline
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It’s been 15 years since Etihad Airways first flew from Abu Dhabi to the capital of Bahrain.

The first flight departed the UAE capital on August 22, 2004 marking the start of a service which has now flown over 2.5 million passengers between the two capital cities.

With a journey time of one hour and ten minutes, Etihad operates 28 flights per week between the two cities. Approximately 200,000 passengers fly the route on the airline's Airbus A320s every year.

The Abu Dhabi to Bahrain service was one of the first established by Etihad Airways when it launched operations in November 2003.

Earlier this year, Etihad signed a codeshare agreement with Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier. The move is expected to further strengthen ties between the two countries.

“Bahrain has evolved as a significant market for Etihad, notably because of its strong relationships, long history and shared culture with the UAE, and we will continue to build upon these foundations,” said Robin Kamark, chief commercial officer at Etihad Aviation Group.

A weekend escape

Bahrain Fort is part dates back to the 16th century and is part of the Unesco World Heritage site in Manama. 

A top choice for a short getaway, travellers from the UAE head to Bahrain for a change of scenery, laid-back coastal vibes and a deep-rooted sense of history.

The tiny island nation dates back some 5,000 years so is a good place to discover Middle Eastern history. The 3,000-year-old Dilmun Burial Mounds is thought to be the world’s largest prehistoric cemetery and the ancient Saar digs contain the remains of an entire excavated village.  The Pearling Trail is a Unesco World Heritage Site that's made up of 17 restored pearl merchant houses and gives a glimpse of life in Bahrain when pearl diving was the main source of revenue.

Divers also flock to Bahrain to experience its unique reef and wreck diving sites. Earlier this year, authorities sank a decommissioned Boeing 747 aircraft into the sea as part of the kingdom’s new underwater theme park.

The country was also the first in the region to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix event. The Bahrain Grand Prix takes place every spring and sees visitors flock to Bahrain for the motor sport event, which is sponsored annually by Gulf Air.