Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will begin flights to the US city of Chicago from 2 September, 2009. The route will be served initially three times a week and will increase to daily flights from Thursday 1 October, 2009.
Chicago, the third largest city in America, will be the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s second US destination joining its daily flight to New York.
It will also strengthen Etihad’s network in North America, which includes Toronto, and enjoys an average seat factor of more than 80 per cent.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “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 US.”
The new service to Chicago’s O’Hare airport will increase the airline’s global flight network to 55 cities and follows confirmation that Etihad will also begin flights to Melbourne, Athens and Istanbul during 2009.
The US Ambassador to the UAE, 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.”
Chicago is the third largest US market for air travel to the Middle East and GCC, 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 more than 230,000.
Etihad Airways won “World’s Leading First Class” at the 2008 World Travel Awards.