Etihad Airways has launched its first flight to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Alexander S Pushkin International Airport, operated by a 787 Dreamliner.
Flight EY63 departed from Abu Dhabi International Airport at 9.35am and landed in the Russian capital at 2.25pm on December 2, transporting a delegation of government ministers and senior Russian airport executives.
The national airline of the UAE earlier operated flights to Moscow Domodedovo Airport.
Guests onboard the first flight to the Sheremetyevo International Airport, code named SVO, included Mohammed Al Jaber, the UAE Ambassador to Russia; Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group; Ali Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi; and Mikhail Vasilenko, general director of SVO Airport.
“After 13 years connecting our two capital cities, we’re delighted to introduce the 787 on this route and move to Russia’s newest and most sophisticated airport, providing better connectivity for guests between Abu Dhabi and Moscow in support of our objective to grow trade and tourism opportunities between our two countries," Douglas said.
“Supported by an increased daily flight schedule providing Russian holidaymakers and business travellers with even more opportunity to visit the UAE, this is the start of a new phase in relations building on the strong economic ties between Moscow and Abu Dhabi.”
SVO Airport is among the top five airport hubs in Europe and the largest Russian airport in terms of passenger and cargo traffic, serving 19.8 million passengers in 2020. The airport opened a third runway in January, and can now serve up to 110 million passengers annually across its six terminals.
The first Etihad flight to SVO’s Terminal C coincided with the 13th anniversary of the airline’s first direct service to Moscow in December 2008. Etihad now operates daily services between Abu Dhabi and Moscow: flight EY63 departs from Abu Dhabi at 9.35am each day, with the return service departing from Moscow at 3.50pm.
Etihad is also entering into a broader partnership with Russia’s national airline group, Aeroflot – Russian Airlines. As a result, Aeroflot launched its first services to Abu Dhabi, three times weekly, from November 13.
UAE citizens are able to obtain an entry visa to Russia on arrival, while Russian citizens are able to enter the UAE and obtain a visa on arrival valid for 30 days free of charge, which can be extended for a further 30 days for a fee.