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 a spectacular “Abu Dhabi Night” reception. The event took place at Bellagio Shanghai, a five-star hotel inspired by the Art Deco history of the city’s famous Bund and styled on a ‘modern interpretation of Shanghai’s past’. The occasion 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.
To highlight the cosmopolitan nature of Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE, and to promote cultural fusion between Emirati and Chinese citizens, the evening featured a series of performances by Arabic and Chinese artists, and offered a tapestry of cuisines jointly created by Hanan Sayed Worrell, food writer and author of Table Tales: The Global Nomad Cuisine of Abu Dhabi, and Bellagio Shanghai Deputy Executive Sous Chef Michael Wu. The evening gave a glimpse into the fascinating culinary experiences every leisure and business traveller can enjoy in Abu Dhabi.
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 appreciate the tremendous support and recognition we’ve received in recent years from our guests, partners and stakeholders, who have been instrumental in cementing Etihad’s position as a leading airline in this important market.
“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 to support the increasing demand for travel to and from Shanghai. In Particular, it 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.
“With the introduction of the 787-10 to Shanghai, and the introduction of Dreamliners on our services to Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong, travellers departing from all four of our gateways in China can now experience our latest products, services and in-flight innovations on the newest aircraft type in our fleet.
“We also believe our passengers should be able to customise their journey, and last year we launched our ‘Choose Well’ brand platform, enabling guests to tailor-make their travel experience with a new range of products and travel options designed to meet all requirements.”
H.E. Dr. Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to China, said: “The aviation sector makes an invaluable contribution of 13 per cent 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 capitalize on this geostrategic benefit, as the natural gateway to Africa and the wider Middle East.
“This fleet upgrade, 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,” H.E. said.
The number of Chinese tourists arriving in the UAE now exceeds 1 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.
Hanan Sayed Worrell, author of Table Tales: The Global Nomad Cuisine of Abu Dhabi and long-term resident of Abu Dhabi said: “I am excited to present Table Tales in Shanghai, one of the modern cultural centers of Asia. Shanghai, with its multicultural flair, uniquely blends eastern and western influences, as seen in its architecture, style and cuisine that produce unforgettable memories. Similarly, Abu Dhabi’s location at the historic crossroads of the spice trade routes, with the different influences from East and West, has resulted in a cosmopolitan city, with diverse cultures and a rich cuisine that is packed with flavours, vibrant in colours and rich in aromas.”
Etihad Airways’ service to Shanghai was inaugurated in March 2012, with Dreamliner services on this route launched in August 2016. The route has proved very successful for the airline, recording consistently strong demand to and from both cities.