Etihad has joined the stampede of carriers looking to start or increase services to China ahead of the Olympic Games.
The quadrennial event is already provoking huge interest from a travel perspective, but the booming Chinese economy means that links to major cities are becoming ever-more important.
Specifically, Etihad will start four services a week to Beijing from 30 March, leaving Abu Dhabi at 23:45 and arriving into the Chinese capital at 11:30 the following morning. Reverse flights leave Beijing at 19:10, arriving into Abu Dhabi at 00:20 the next day.
Although Beijing will be Etihad”s first Chinese destination, the carrier is rapidly expanding in the Asia-Pacific region, with operations to Brisbane, Sydney, Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok.
”There is a huge appetite from business and le
isure travellers for flights to Beijing, especially ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games,” said Etihad chief executive James Hogan. ”Beijing has established itself as one of the world”s fastest growing and most popular destinations and we anticipate tremendous demand for this new Etihad service.”
UK passengers will be able to connect with the Abu Dhabi flights using thrice-daily services from London Heathrow and a daily operation from Manchester.
The airline will use an Airbus A330-200 configured with 22 business and 262 economy class seats on the Abu Dhabi-Beijing rotation, with the aircraft also capable of carrying 11t of cargo with a full passenger load.