Regardless of being lower than 20 years outdated, Etihad Airways has grown to change into one of many Center East’s prime airways. Based mostly within the UAE, the service now flies over 100 plane to cities all around the world, providing helpful connections via its Abu Dhabi hub.
Etihad got here into existence in 2003 following a royal decree to ascertain a second, Abu Dhabi-based flag service for the United Arab Emirates. It commenced operations that yr, initially flying to different Center Jap locations akin to Beirut. By inserting big orders for widebody plane, Etihad has established itself as one of many area’s key intercontinental carriers. This was underlined by its operation of the Airbus A380 from 2014.
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To start with
The royal decree that prompted Etihad’s formation was issued by then-future UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. With a capital of 500 million UAE Dirham ($136 million) put aside for the airline, it was based by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saif Al Nahyan, who had beforehand labored for Abu Dhabi’s Civil Aviation Authority and as Gulf Air’s CEO.
After a ceremonial flight from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain on November fifth, 2003, industrial service started per week later. This initially noticed the brand new airline serve Beirut, Lebanon. Etihad wasted no time growing its fleet, evidenced by a hefty 2004 transaction. Value $8 billion, this 30-jet order included six Boeing 777-300ERs and 4 Airbus A380s.
Because it turned out, this is able to not be the final multi-billion greenback order positioned by Etihad. When the 2008 Farnborough Airshow got here round, the UAE flag service made historical past by ordering an unimaginable $43 billion value of plane. In response to The Occasions, this was the world’s largest plane order, outranking a $34 billion transaction by Emirates in 2003.
Wings Journal reported that this featured each Airbus and Boeing jets, and comprised 100 agency orders, 55 choices, and 50 buy rights. This order laid the foundations for the make-up of Etihad’s fleet right now. Regardless of its development, together with a full-year web revenue in 2011, Etihad by no means joined an alliance, as a substitute partnering with and buying stakes in particular person carriers. These included Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air Serbia, and Virgin Australia.
Current developments amid COVID-19
As with many airways worldwide, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic final yr stopped Etihad’s development in its tracks. This compelled vital operational restructuring to ensure that the service to generate revenue at a time when passenger demand was minimal. For instance, Etihad repurposed a few of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners as momentary cargo planes.
Nevertheless, not all of Etihad’s plane had been capable of finding new roles throughout the airline amid the worldwide well being disaster. Most notably, COVID-19 seems to have spelled the top for its 10 Airbus A380s. In any case, CEO Tony Douglas advised Easy Flying in an unique webinar interview that the superjumbo has “two engines too many.” Nonetheless, with a contemporary spine of environment friendly twinjets, Etihad seems to be properly positioned to make a powerful restoration.
What are your greatest reminiscences of flying with Etihad? How do you discover it compares to the UAE’s different flag service, Emirates? Tell us your ideas and experiences within the feedback.