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What:On June 1, Etihad Airways, the flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates based out of Abu Dhabi, launched its LAX to Abu Dhabi daily flight.
Why It Matters:While the new flight offers a great premium option for clients who want to travel to the United Arab Emirates — not to mention the option to get processed through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Preclearance Facility in Abu Dhabi — the flight will also open up destinations popular with large communities within the Los Angeles area. These include Bahrain, Kuwait, Riyadh, Tehran, Yerevan, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Islamabad. Etihad, which currently flies out of Chicago, Washington and New York, plans to continue to expand its U.S. network, adding Dallas in December.
Fast Facts:- Etihad Airways is a relatively young airline, beginning operations in 2003.
- The airline is currently operating a three-cabin A340 between Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles, but will transition to a three-cabin Boeing 777-200 LR in July. The Boeing 777-200 can carry 239 guests, with eight in First Class, 40 in Business Class and 191 in Economy Class.
- Etihad holds equity investments in AirBerlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia and Jet Airways. The airline is currently in talks with Alitalia.
- Etihad flies to 103 existing or announced destinations in 62 countries. This year, the airline added nine new passenger destinations.
What They Are Saying:“There’s traffic coming from Abu Dhabi and UAE to America which is considerable and then there’s the traffic out of the Middle East, out of Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh which is extremely strong,” said James Hogan, CEO and president of Etihad Airways. “What we can also do with this flight is link it with the Iranian market and the Armenian market — they both have considerable traffic flows between the U.S. and our part of the world.”
“The span of cities we operate to is much broader than the American and European carriers — our reach is greater, and I think that’s why we’re seeing an accelerated take,” said Hogan. “We are building a global network and L.A. is about to plug into that.”