Etihad to Shanghai
Etihad Airways will be flying between Abu Dhabi and Shanghai twice-weekly from February 2023 Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: UAE’s flag carrier Etihad Airways said Tuesday that it is strengthening air connectivity between UAE and China next year, starting with an additional weekly frequency on its Abu Dhabi-Shanghai route.

Subject to regulatory approval, from February 2023, the airline will fly to Pudong International Airport (PVG) two times per week using modern Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft. “Combined with a weekly service to Beijing and a twice-weekly service to Guangzhou, the new flight service will provide travellers with five weekly nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and China,” stated Etihad airline in a press release.

The announcement from Etihad Airways comes hours after China announced its decision to ease border restrictions from January 8, 2023. Inbound travellers will only be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result obtained 48 hours before departure, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said in an announcement late Monday. Currently, they are subject to five days of hotel quarantine and three days of self-isolation at home.

Martin Drew, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Cargo at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Airways is delighted to add a second weekly passenger service to Shanghai following the further relaxation of Covid-related travel measures.”

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"China is a market of primary importance to Etihad, and as one of the country’s largest financial and economic centres, Shanghai plays a crucial role in our network,” said Drew.

Tuesday’s announcement also follows the launch of nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and Guangzhou in October 2022. Etihad Airways became the first international airline to operate long-haul passenger flights to the top three Chinese gateways since the start of the pandemic. The airline marked another milestone in China earlier this year when it operated the first regular international passenger flight to recommence to Beijing when the capital reopened for direct international travel in June 2022.