Etihad Airways is an airline of the United Arab Emirates with its headquarters in the capital city of Abu Dhabi. It operates routes to the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Europe, as well as to North America.
Its main base is the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The airline started its commercial operations in November 2003. In early 2006, the airline held the launch of its plan to open 30 routes to international destinations in a period of 30 months, including Toronto, Brussels, and Johannesburg. Sixteen new destinations, including Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Jakarta, Manila, Manchester, Paris, Dhaka, Casablanca, Doha, Jedda, Muscat, Kuwait, Khartoum and New York were added during 2006.
It was founded in July 2003 by government decree of the Emir of Abu Dhabi Chalifa bin Zayid Al Nahyan. The government has invested a capital of 500 million AED (= 136 million $) for the start up. Flight operation started on 5. November 2003 with a ceremonial flight to al-Ain. The first commercial flight to Beirut took place on 12. November 2003. In the first full year of operations, 2004, Etihad transported around 340,000 passengers. Three years later, in the year 2007 they transported over 4.6 million, in the year 2008 there were 6.0 million passengers.
On the 20th of June of 2007, in the framework of the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, the airline announced an order for another four A340-600s, as well as five A330-200s and three A330-200Fs.
Etihad Airways announced in December 2011, that it purchased 29.21 percent of the financially embattled Air Berlin and thus became the largest individual shareholder.
Etihad is fully owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, so the leader is Al Nahyan. The first year the airline generated a profit was the year 2012 with a net profit of USD 42 million. Etihad has, from the launch of its service in the year 2003, had a number of tributes for their comfort and service.
In July 2012 it was announced that Etihad will enter into a partnership with Air France-KLM. Also the creation of a joint venture is not to be ruled out. In the 3rd Quarter of 2012 a codeshare with Air Lingus is scheduled to be started.
On August 1, 2013, Etihad Airways announced the acquisition of 49 per cent of Jat Airways.
In September 2013 Etihad opened their new European representation with headquarters in Berlin. The Indian government, in October 2013, approved its participation in 24 percent of Jat Airways for the amount of 20.6 billion rupees (about 246 million Euro).
In November 2013 it was announced that Etihad Airways owns a share of 33.3 percent of the Swiss regional airline Darwin Airline and in the future it will operate regionally under the new brand of Etihad and appreciably expand.