Etihad Airways announced the launch of non-stop daily flights to Washington, D.C., the airline’s fourth destination in North America, from March 31 2013, subject to regulatory approvals.
The Washington region is home to America’s second largest market flying to the Middle East, after New York. Etihad Airways’ new service will link D.C. with Abu Dhabi, a vibrant and growing hub for business, culture and tourism.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “No other UAE carrier is offering nonstop services between D.C. and the UAE, so this capital-to-capital link is a huge opportunity for Etihad Airways.”
The new service will further strengthen the already strong political and economic ties between the National Capital Region and the UAE. Last week, the US Department of Commerce released data showing that total trade volume between the US and the UAE rose to $18.3 billion in 2011, a 43 per cent increase from the year before.
This increase represents the highest trade volume to date between the US and UAE. It also means that, for the third consecutive year, the UAE is the single largest export market for US goods in the Middle East. The US is the fifth largest trade partner worldwide for the UAE.
Mr Hogan said: “The point-to-point traffic between D.C. and Abu Dhabi is expected to contribute significantly to overall loads on the route. The schedule also allows maximum connectivity to key markets in the GCC, Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia.
“The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area ranks as one of the strongest-performing economies in the country. Demand for premium cabins from the market is significantly higher than from other potential US destinations, so we forecast that our award-winning Diamond First class and Pearl Business class will be very popular.
“A large and fast-growing population in the D.C. metro area, coupled with increasing ties to the UAE, means that the demand for travel across all cabins will only increase.”
In addition to strong economic ties between the US and UAE, the two countries also have significant mutual investment in educational, technological and cultural sectors.
In the Washington region alone, there are a number of organizations that have a strong business presence in the UAE, or deep relationships with UAE institutions. Among those companies are the Carlyle Group, Hilton International, Lockheed Martin and Children’s National Medical Center. Respected local think tanks and policy organizations, such as the Brookings Institution and the US Institute of Peace, are also working closely with their counterparts in the UAE.
The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is expected to open later this year. New York University, which opened its downtown Abu Dhabi location in 2009, will expand its presence to include permanent campus facilities on Saadiyat Island in 2014. The Guggenheim is also scheduled to open its much-anticipated Abu Dhabi museum in 2017.
John E. Potter, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We congratulate Etihad Airways on this announcement. We are looking forward to welcoming them to our region, and we thank them for recognizing Washington Dulles International Airport as an integral part of the global aviation system.”
The direct flights will be operated by a three class A340-500 aircraft. Each flight will offer 12 Diamond First class, 28 Pearl Business class and 200 Coral Economy seats, for a total 3,360 seats per week.
Etihad Cargo will offer cargo capacity on services to D.C., with an anticipated load of 140 tonnes per week. The new route will complement existing online and connecting interline cargo services to and from North America.
Etihad Airways launched Toronto in October 2005, New York in October 2006 and Chicago in September 2009.
Aircraft configuration: A340-500; 12 Diamond First Class, 28 Pearl Business Class & 200 Coral Economy Class.
Proposed flight schedule:
Source = Etihad Airways