Etihad Airways will begin its services to Chicago from September 2 with three initial weekly flights, making it the airline's second United States destination after New York, which is served with daily flights from Abu Dhabi.
The airline said the service will be increased to daily flights from October 1.
Chicago is the third largest city in the US and the biggest in the State of Illinois.
"Starting flights to Chicago is a very proud moment in the history of Etihad Airways and upholds our ambitious plans to link Abu Dhabi with key strategic cities around the world. The new service will provide a daily flight for business and leisure travellers as well as enhance commercial and cultural ties not only between Abu Dhabi and Chicago but also between the UAE and the US," said Chief Executive Officer James Hogan.
The new service to Chicago's O'Hare Airport will increase the airline's international flight network to 55 cities and follows confirmation that Etihad Airways will also begin flights to Melbourne, Athens and Istanbul during 2009.
Commenting on the second Etihad destination in the US, Ambassador Richard Olson said: "It's very fitting that Etihad's second destination in the US is to the home of America's 44th president.
"The inauguration of this new service, linking the UAE and the US, is another very positive example of the strong and expanding commercial relationship that Emiratis and Americans share," he added. Chicago is the third largest US market for air travel to the Middle East and the Gulf Co-operation Council countries, after New York and Washington, and the State of Illinois is home to one of the largest Arab-American communities in the US with an estimated Arab-American population of 230,000.
Chicago attracts more than 44 million visitors each year and the city's main airport, O'Hare, received nearly 70 million passengers in 2008, making it the second busiest airport in the world.
Etihad Airways will operate a three cabin Airbus A340-500 wide-body aircraft on the Abu Dhabi to Chicago service, which is configured to carry 240 passengers with 12 in first class, 28 in business class and 200 in economy class.
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