Etihad Airways takes off

20 November 2003
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways started commercial operations on 12 November with the launch of its inaugural flight to Beirut. The new carrier plans to launch services to other regional destinations, the Indian subcontinent and the UK, using two Airbus A330-200s.

Etihad Airways was established in July by Emiri decree. It has a capital of AED 500 million ($136 million) and plans to acquire six aircraft in 2004.

Fleet expansion is planned by another new carrier, Dubai-based ExecuJet Middle East. It announced on 12 November plans to invest $48.5 million in acquiring two aircraft: a Bombardier Global Express, offering 16 seats; and a PilatusPC-12, with eight seats,are due to be delivered on 1 December to the chartered flight operator. At present, ExecuJet Middle East owns four aircraft.

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