The daily route will enable Etihad to address increased trade volumes between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates, which surged 43 percent, year-over-year, in 2011, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data. In fact, the UAE ranks as the largest export market for U.S. goods in the Middle East.
The U.S. is also the UAE’s fifth largest trading partner, according to a press release.
Washington, D.C., in particular, provides Etihad with significant trade opportunities, James Hogan, Etihad’s president and CEO, explained. “The point-to-point traffic between D.C. and Abu Dhabi is expected to contribute significantly to overall loads on the route,” he said in a statement. “The schedule also allows maximum connectivity to key markets in the GCC, Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.”
Hogan anticipates that cargo and passenger volumes on this route will only grow over time. “The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area ranks as one of the strongest-performing economies in the country,” he said. “A large and fast-growing population in the D.C. metro area, coupled with increasing ties to the UAE, means that the demand for travel across all cabins will only increase.”
This route marks the carrier’s fourth North American destination. Etihad launched service to Toronto, New York and Chicago in 2005, 2006 and 2009, respectively.