Etihad Airways has resumed passenger service between Abu Dhabi and Beijing.
The flight became the first regular direct international passenger service to return to the Chinese capital under the country’s latest mandate in response to Covid-19.
The air link was the first direct passenger connection from the capital of the UAE to Beijing since March 2020.
On board the flight were UAE diplomats, employees of Chinese enterprises with investments in the UAE, business travellers and students.
Following the inaugural flight, a regular weekly service starts on July 6 operated by a two-class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Etihad Aviation Group chief executive Tony Douglassaid: “Today marks a significant moment in Etihad’s history as passenger flights resume to Beijing for the first time in over 800 days.
“The direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Beijing will undoubtedly facilitate the deepening of bilateral cooperation in various fields and promote stronger bonds among the people of the two nations.
“As global travel restrictions rapidly ease, Etihad is equipped to further increase operations to China and meet the rising demand from travellers in both locations to support the recovery of economic and social activities worldwide.”
The airline’s government international and communications senior vice president Ahmed Al Qubaisi added: “Etihad’s flight today is a testament to the successful comprehensive strategic partnership between both capitals and demonstrates the joint determination of both governments to build upon it.
“Etihad is tremendously grateful to be part of this moment and to contribute to the increasingly close ties between the UAE and China.
“Etihad continues to deliver on its commitment to facilitating a resilient and prosperous air bridge between the UAE and China, and beyond. This maintains passenger and cargo movement and supports economic and political exchanges between both nations.”