Etihad Airways has operated its first ever flight to Havana, Cuba. The goodwill flight, chartered by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, landed in the capital of the Caribbean island nation, carrying Cuban nationals returning home from the UAE. Havana is the latest addition to an expanding list of special charter flights to destinations not normally served on the airline’s global route network.
Following the suspension of all normal passenger flights to and from the UAE on 24 March, Etihad has operated special humanitarian services to 32 cities around the world, all of which are not currently served by the airline’s passenger or cargo network of flights. These include Bogota, Bucharest, Grozny, Kiev, Larnaca, Podgorica, Tirana, Yerevan, Zagreb, Auckland, Bhubaneswar, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Dhaka, Erbil, Kabul, Lucknow, Makhachkala, Addis Ababa, Antananarivo, Bamako, Banjul, Conakry, Freetown, Harare, Kinshasa, Moroni, N’Djamena, Niamey, and Nouakchott. The airline recently operated a special humanitarian flight carrying essential medical and humanitarian cargo bound for the Palestinian Territories.
Additionally, Etihad has operated special passenger and freight flights, including charters, to a further 62 online destinations, and continues to expand this number as it prepares to resume a more normalised network of scheduled flights to, from, and via its Abu Dhabi hub.
Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Etihad Aviation Group Senior Vice President Government, International and Communications, said: “All of us at Etihad feel a collective sense of pride, and humility, in the knowledge that we have been able to fully mobilise our resources at a time of great difficulty and suffering, to provide essential aerial lifelines to those in need. We have been able to move with agility and fly to territories never served by us prior to the current global lockdown, so we can aid in the repatriation of people.
“Our services are a natural extension of the goodwill initiatives of the Government of the United Arab Emirates, and other governments and NGOs. As an international airline made up of a close family of colleagues from over 150 nations, we are reflective of the wider global community, and do not underestimate the importance of operating such flights in this current situation. We will continue to work with our partners around the world to play our part as things gradually return to normal.”