Etihad adds Shanghai flights as China travel demand grows

An Etihad Airways aircraft over Shanghai, China.
Image Credit: Etihad Airways

LONDON – Etihad Airways is set to strengthen air connectivity between the UAE and China next year, starting with an additional weekly frequency on its Abu Dhabi – Shanghai route.

Subject to regulatory approval, from February 2023, the airline will fly to Pudong International Airport (PVG) two times per week using modern Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft.

Combined with a weekly service to Beijing and a twice-weekly service to Guangzhou, this will provide travellers with five weekly nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and China.

China as a crucial market

Martin Drew, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Cargo at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Airways is delighted to add a second weekly passenger service to Shanghai following the further relaxation of Covid-related travel measures.

“China is a market of primary importance to Etihad, and as one of the country’s largest financial and economic centres, Shanghai plays a crucial role in our network.

“Etihad is committed to developing our operation to China, and we look forward to welcoming more travellers on board in the new year to experience our award-winning hospitality.”

Today’s announcement follows the launch of nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and Guangzhou in October 2022, when Etihad Airways became the first international airline to operate long-haul passenger flights to the top three Chinese gateways since the start of the pandemic.

The airline marked another milestone in China earlier this year when it operated the first regular international passenger flight to recommence to Beijing when the capital reopened for international direct travel in June 2022.

Etihad cargo – the Chinese and Indian market

At the beginning of December, Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, also reinforced its commitment to the Chinese and Indian markets.

The cargo arm reinstated a twice-weekly freighter service from Shanghai to Abu Dhabi via Chennai starting 8 December.

This additional freighter service will provide the carrier with additional capacity into what are recognised as two key global markets. 

This bolstering of Etihad Cargo’s network followed the recent introduction of twice-weekly direct cargo flights to Guangzhou.

With the introduction of the Chinese destination of Guangzhou to the carrier’s network, Etihad Cargo became the first international airline to operate long-haul cargo and passenger services to the top three Chinese gateways — Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou — since the beginning of the pandemic.

The significance of the Chinese ‘powerhouse’ market is clear, with the strengthening of both passenger and cargo services into and out of the region.

The Indian market has also become a significant market for the UAE carrier with an increase in India’s manufacturing and industrial production post-pandemic.

“The Indian market is currently booming,” said Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Cargo at Etihad Aviation Group at the beginning of December.

“The country’s industrial production is rising and manufacturing output is rebounding, driven by increases in the production of machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and metals, among others.”

“As part of Etihad Cargo’s commitment to supporting this key market, the carrier has opened up freighter capacity from Chennai to support increased demand from customers in the region.”

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