Etihad Airways has announced it will commence services to Chengdu in southwest China from December 15th, 2011 – subject to government approval.
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and the airline’s 69th destination, will be connected to the airline’s hub and home base in Abu Dhabi by four non-stop return services per week.
Chief executive officer James Hogan explained the airline’s new Abu Dhabi-Chengdu service would provide the first ever flight link between the United Arab Emirates and Sichuan province.
“The new Chengdu services will connect the UAE with the economic centre and transportation and communication hub of China’s booming southwest region,” he said.
“This will further stimulate the growth of commerce and trade between the UAE and China, already the UAE’s third largest trading partner.
“It will also provide a new, more convenient gateway into southwest China for business and leisure travellers from Europe and the Middle East and a faster, new route to Europe and the Middle East for the rapidly growing Chinese outbound travel market.”
A key benefit to travellers of the Abu Dhabi-Chengdu service is convenient flight arrival and departure times and network connectivity at the airline’s hub, added Hogan.
“The schedule has been designed to provide convenient departure and arrival times for both business and leisure customers and seamless onward connections to Etihad’s extensive network across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa,” he explained.
Etihad – which was last year recognised as the World’s Leading Airline by the World Travel Awards - will operate an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration on the sector – offering 22 Pearl Business class and 240 Coral Economy class seats.
Chairman of Sichuan Airport Group Li Wei said: “Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport has been focusing on the construction of infrastructure, the soft environment and consistent improvement of service levels.
“Etihad Airways is a reputable and well-established airline. We are glad to see Etihad starting a direct service from Chengdu to Abu Dhabi, and we look forward to having more airlines here.
“We are dedicated to building Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport as the international gateway to central and western China, and the fourth largest air transport hub in China.”