The national airline of the UAE will begin flying to the largest of the Greek Islands from June 15, as part of its updated summer schedule.
Etihad is also relaunching seasonal flights to three other popular holiday destinations in time for the summer holidays. Flights from Abu Dhabi to Zanzibar, Santorini and Malaga will recommence in June.
Crete is Etihad's newest destination and one that has long been a favourite with holidaymakers. Famed for its ancient ruins, bustling cities and glorious beaches, it offers an island escape surrounded by the Aegean Sea.
Flights to the Greek island from Abu Dhabi will fly into Heraklion, the island's capital. Operated via an Airbus A320 on Wednesdays and Saturdays, journey times are just under five hours.
“Crete is an ideal summer destination for travellers who are looking for a mix of beach and mountain adventures, and along with the hotspots of Malaga, Santorini and Zanzibar, makes for a perfect addition to Etihad’s summer network,” said Martin Drew, senior vice president sales and cargo at Etihad.
The airline will launch two weekly flights to Spain’s Malaga, capital of the Costa del Sol, on the same date it begins flying to Crete.
To Greece's Santorini, an island known for its sugar-cube buildings and unparalleled ocean views, Etihad will begin operating three weekly flights from Thursday, June 16.
Travellers looking to fly to Zanzibar in Tanzania can fly with the airline one day later, with three weekly flights to the Spice Island from Abu Dhabi commencing Friday, June 17.
The new summer routes will be available to book on the airline's website by Tuesday afternoon.
With services set to begin just before the school summer holidays, it's likely Etihad will be hoping to attract more families to fly.
Last week, the airline launched its Little VIP campaign in partnership with Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi. The scheme introduces Warner Bros-themed meals, activity packs and games on Etihad flights and is designed to make flying easier for those travelling with children.