[photopress:air_Etihad_Airways_Flight.jpg,full,alignright]Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will start flying to Beijing on March 30, making it the third Gulf carrier coming to China. While not quite, as yet, competing with Emirates in the luxury stakes it is a very pleasant and well run airline. The writer has flown it several times in economy and was very satisfied.
The airline will fly four times a week connecting Beijing and Abu Dhabi. Beijing will be Etihad’s eighth destination in its rapidly expanding flight network in the Asia-Pacific region.
Etihad will join Dubai-based Emirates Airlines and Doha-based Qatar Airways to provide Chinese travelers with access not only to the Middle East, but to Europe and Africa as well. The theory they are working on is that airport hubs in the Gulf area are growing into the world’s major air travel junctions.
This is not essentially true. One of the problems that these airlines have is convincing travelers that they have well equipped air travel junctions. Many business travelers simply will not make that connection.
James Hogan, Etihad’s chief executive,’There is a huge appetite from business and leisure travelers for flights to Beijing, especially ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games. Our forward bookings are already ahead of our expectations.’
He also said Etihad is looking to increase its frequency to daily flights to Beijing and will fly to Shanghai as well in the near future.
The UAE is home to nearly 200,000 Chinese and more than 2,000 Chinese companies.
Source: China Daily