Etihad Airways, a national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will increase the frequency of its Abu Dhabi – Chengdu service from five-flights-a-week to daily from March 30, 2014.
As one of the biggest markets in China for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Chengdu has emerged as a leading economic, transportation and communication centre for the Asian country, with nearly half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies having operations in the city.
Etihad Airways launched its Chengdu service on December 15, 2011, offering the first and only direct airline connection between the UAE and China’s Sichuan province, home to a population of over 80 million.
It is the third city to be served by Etihad Airways in China, with daily flights also operated to the capital, Beijing, and the country’s largest city by population, Shanghai.
Passenger volumes on the Chengdu route increased by 25 per cent last year compared to 2012 levels, while cargo and mail volumes were 19 per cent higher.
The flights are operated using a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 22 Pearl Business class and 240 Coral Economy class seats.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “With consistent double-digit growth in passenger and cargo volumes, Chengdu represents a great opportunity.
“Operating a daily service will provide our guests with even more convenient service to Abu Dhabi as well as key markets in the GCC, Middle East, North Africa and Europe. In addition, our expanded service will further stimulate economic growth between China and the UAE.”