Etihad To Open New Chinese Route

With passenger service to Chengdu still suspended, Guangzhou will become the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s third destination in China once flights begin in October.

Credit: Dmitry Rukhlenko-Travel Photos/ Alamy Stock Photo

Etihad Airways is set to start flying to Guangzhou (CAN) next month, increasing its connectivity between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China to four flights per week.

Subject to regulatory approvals, the twice-weekly passenger service between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Guangzhou will start on Oct. 10, initially using a two-class Boeing 777 aircraft. The new route means Etihad will offer flights to three Chinese gateways.

“Our twice-weekly service will further address the huge demand for passenger travel between the UAE and China, as well as provide new cargo capacity, building on the formidable people and business ties between the two markets,” said Martin Drew, Etihad SVP of global sales and cargo.

Etihad resumed service to Shanghai Pudong (PVG) in July 2020 and flights to Beijing Capital (PEK) restarted in June 2022. Each route is served once a week at the present time.

Prior to the pandemic, the airline also offered a nonstop connection between Abu Dhabi and Chengdu (CTU), but regular service has been suspended since February 2020.

Etihad’s flights to Guangzhou will depart AUH on Mondays and Fridays at 11 p.m., arriving in CAN at 10.25 a.m. the following day. The return service is on Wednesdays and Sundays at 6.40 p.m., arriving in Abu Dhabi at 10.40 p.m. the same day.

Data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser for the week commencing Sept. 12 shows that three carriers provide nonstop service between the UAE and Guangzhou. Emirates and China Southern Airlines offer flights from Dubai (DXB) 2X-weekly and 1X-weekly respectively, while Nigeria’s Air Peace connects Sharjah (SHJ) and Guangzhou once a week as part of a Lagos (LOS)-Sharjah-Guangzhou routing.

Sabre Market Intelligence figures reveal that O&D traffic between the UAE and Guangzhou totaled 180,368 two-way passengers in 2019, up by 7.4% on the previous 12 months. However, passenger traffic dropped to 45,800 in 2020 and 42,300 in 2021 as China’s tough COVID-19 travel restrictions severely limited nonstop capacity.