Etihad Airways has started its service from its Abu Dhabi home-base to Chicago. Flight EY151 took-off yesterday, landing 14 hours later at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
(Pictured: a water cannon welcomes Etihad Airways’ A340-600 to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago)
The launch of the new service - Etihad’s third destination in North America after New York and Toronto - brings to 55 the total number of international destinations served by the Abu Dhabi-based airline.
For the inaugural flight, Etihad operated its Airbus A340-600 aircraft in the iconic Formula 1 livery, with O’Hare airport fire trucks providing the traditional ‘water arch’ for the plane on the runway before it docked at terminal five.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “We are delighted to start services to Chicago which is our third major destination in North America. Chicago is set to become a key part of our global flight programme with strong traffic expected from cities across our Middle East and Indian Sub-Continent network.
“Etihad’s fleet of brand new, fuel-efficient aircraft allows us to launch flights to ultra-long haul destinations, such as Chicago, at the same time providing customers in all three cabins with the most luxurious in-flight experience on offer in the industry.”
Richard Olson, US Ambassador to the UAE, said: “The launch of this new service, enhancing strong established links between the UAE and the US, is another very positive example of the strong and expanding commercial relationship that Emiratis and Americans share.”
With the launch of the three weekly flights to Chicago, Etihad Airways now flies to North America 13 times a week: daily to New York (JFK) and three times weekly to Toronto in Canada. This will increase to 16 flights a week when the Chicago service goes to six per week at the end of October.
In July, Etihad and American Airlines announced a wide ranging code-share agreement. The ‘EY’ code can now be seen on selected domestic and international services operated by American, and the ‘AA’ code has been placed on Etihad services to North America and Europe.