Etihad airways’ decision to fly direct four times a week to Beijing starting on March 20 is expected to further boost the already developing bilateral trade and tourism relations between the UAE and China.
James Hogan, Chief Executive of Etihad, said that the new service will provide a 2,000 seat capacity per week to the Abu Dhabi-Beijing route.
“There is a huge appetite from business and leisure travelers for flights to Beijing, especially ahead of the Olympic Games later this year, and our forward bookings are already ahead of our expectations,” says Hogan.
The UAE is China’s second largest trade partner in the GCC and the largest market for Chinese exports, valued at $17 billion (Dh62.4 billion) in 2007, up by 50 per cent from the export revenues generated a year earlier. UAE exports to China, meanwhile, hit a 7.7 per cent increase to reach $3 billion (Dh11 billion) last year.
The tourism potential between both countries also remains positive following the signing of a memorandum of agreement between Emirati and Chinese officials during UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zahed Al Nahyan’s official visit to China in April 2007.
Etihad’s introductory fares to China with return economy tickets starts from Dh1,340 and business class tickets from Dh6,440, excluding taxes.
Etihad launches direct flights to Beijing