Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has celebrated the deployment of the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner on its daily scheduled services to Shanghai by hosting an 'Abu Dhabi Night' reception, at the Bellagio Shanghai.
The event was attended by leading figures from the UAE and local government officials, diplomats, corporate partners, members of the travel industry and social influencers from the two countries.
Robin Kamark, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Commercial Officer, said, "Since the launch of our flights between Shanghai and Abu Dhabi in 2012, we have witnessed huge growth in China’s outbound tourism market and experienced strong demand from both business and leisure travellers."
"We are delighted to now deploy the larger 787-10 Dreamliner on this popular route, a decision which reflects the importance of Shanghai and China to Etihad Airways. The new aircraft will help support the surging growth in leisure travel from Shanghai and its surrounding cities in Eastern China, to the Middle East and beyond, via our hub in Abu Dhabi," he added.
Dr. Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to China, said, "The aviation sector makes an invaluable contribution of 13 percent of the UAE's GDP and as such is one of the most valuable aspects of the UAE-China relationship. Our country has become an important strategic trading partner for China’s overseas investment, positioned as it is at the crossroads of continents."
"The UAE sits at a crucial pivot point of the international arc of the Belt and Road Initiative, and we are working with the Chinese government to capitalise on this geostrategic benefit, as the natural gateway to Africa and the wider Middle East," he continued.
"This fleet upgrade," said Dr. Al Dhaheri, "alongside numerous other initiatives driven by Etihad Airways, is part of a series of positive developments in the aviation sector, and I am delighted that the ties between the UAE and China are being further strengthened in these very real and practical ways."
"The new daily scheduled services between Abu Dhabi and Shanghai support the advancement of the UAE-China relationship through these connections of businesses, cultures and peoples. This work will underpin shared UAE-China aims to achieve a common goal of pursuing sustainable growth, stability, and prosperity at an ever-increasing pace," he added.
The number of Chinese tourists arriving in the UAE now exceeds one million per year, while 3.5 million Chinese passengers transit through the country each year, assisted by direct services, the mutual visa-exemption policy between the UAE and China implemented last January, and the great efforts in promoting bidirectional destinations and business investment.