Etihad Airways this week celebrated its 10th anniversary of service between Abu Dhabi and Dhaka.
Diplomats, government and aviation officials were joined by corporate and travel industry partners, along with the airline’s Dhaka-based employees as Etihad Airways recognised their loyalty and support.
His Excellency Dr Saeed Bin Hajar Al Shehi, UAE Ambasador to Bangladesh, and His Excellency Rashid Khan Menon MP, Minister of Civil Aviation of Bangladesh, were guests of honour at the anniversary event, held at Le Meridien Hotel, Dhaka.
Pictured cutting a celebratory cake at a reception in Bangladesh marking the 10thanniversary of Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi – Dhaka route are, from second left: His Excellency Dr Saeed Bin Hajar Al Shehi, UAE Ambasador to Bangladesh, and His Excellency Rashid Khan Menon MP, Minister of Civil Aviation of Bangladesh, with Neerja Bhatia, Etihad Airways Vice President Indian Subcontinent, and Hanif Zakaria, Etihad Airways General Manager Bangladesh
Etihad Airways launched scheduled flights between the capital cities of the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh on 4 May 2006 with four services a week. Frequency increased to daily soon after, with a bigger 380-seat Boeing 777-300ER aircraft now operating the route.
More than 1.5 million guests have flown between the two cities and beyond since 2006.
Configured in two classes with 40 seats in Business Class and 340 in Economy Class, the aircraft caters for corporate and leisure traffic offering convenient onward connections over the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub to key cities across the Middle East, Europe, Africa and North America. These include New York, Toronto, Chicago, London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich, Rome, Milan, Paris, Venice, Dublin, Lagos and Cairo.
Etihad Airways also operates three dedicated cargo flights every week and has carried more than 136,000 tons of freight on the route since 2006. Freight includes garments, pharmaceuticals, fishery and other perishables.
Bilateral trade between the UAE and Bangladesh has topped US$1 billion over the past 10 years – double the 2006 figure.
Neerja Bhatia, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Indian Subcontinent, said Bangladesh was an integral part of the airline’s global network, providing guests with ease of travel to Abu Dhabi and destinations worldwide.
“Our guests from Bangladesh are offered a world-class, award-winning service to over 600 destinations around the world with Etihad Airways and our partner airlines,” she said.
“It is our strong partnership with key stakeholders here and globally that has helped Etihad Airways excel to great heights in just a few years. This spirit of dedication and commitment is part of Etihad Airways’ DNA and we recognise their support and achievements to help make Etihad Airways the airline of choice.”
Hanif Zakaria, Etihad Airways’ General Manager Bangladesh, expressed his appreciation, stressing the importance of the unique facilities and services offered that gave Etihad Airways the competitive edge.
“Etihad Airways’ complimentary bus service between Dhaka, and both Chittagong and Sylhet, has provided ease of transfers on our departing and arriving flights. In addition, for those travelling to the United States, the unique US Pre-Clearance Immigration and Customs facilities at Abu Dhabi International Airport provide guests with the extra convenience of arriving in the US as domestic passengers ensuring they avoid lengthy formalities on arrival.”
Etihad Airways has also supported a leading charity initiative in Bangladesh over the years by giving opportunity and hope to children at the Choice To Change Elementary School in Dhaka. Launched by a former Etihad Airways cabin crew member, the charity supports children in need with free education, food and basic health care. It engages with Etihad Airways employees whose support has given children a real chance to break away from the cycle of poverty and to improve their lives.