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Etihad History

Etihad Airways is a real newcomer into the world of global aviation. It started flights as late at July 2003!

The airline's birth centred around a plan by the United Arab Emirates to no longer be so dependent on oil income, and instead have some alternative investments. As a result Etihad was established by the Royal Decree which was issued by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with start up capital of a mere AED 500 million.

The name Etihad was chosen; a rough translation of Etihad means Union or Unity in the United Arab Emirates.

Flights started very quickly in November 2003 Etihad inaugurated commercial operations with the launch of services to Beirut.

Etihad Airways is a regular visitor to the Farnborough airshow, and in 2004 went on an 8 billion dollar shopping spree for five Boeing 777-300ERs and 24 Airbus A330 and A340, plus options for four A380-800s.

In July 2006, Airbus painted an A380 in Etihad livery and sent it to Abu Dhabi as a sales tool. It resulted in those four options being converted into ten firm orders.

That paled into insignificance with the largest order in the history of commercial aviation at the Farnborough Airshow in 2008 for 205 aircraft.

Etihad A340 Accident
Etihad Airbus A340 at New York JFK.

In 2007 Etihad received considerable publicity after three Australian First Class passengers were charged in the UAE for drinking alcohol on a flight as non-Muslims without a permit, which led to fines and suspended prison sentences.

Further bad publicity for Etihad occured in 2007 with the now infamous Etihad A340 accident, when the aircraft was undergoing ground engine testing at Toulouse. It broke loose and the brand new Etihad A340 crashed into the test-pen wall. There was considerable publicity at the time. Many emails circulated with pictures of the accident, but with incorrect information as to the cause, and this incident was dealt with by Airbus as the aircraft hadn't been delivered to Etihad.

In 2011 the UK football team Manchester City renamed the City of Manchester Stadium the Ethiad Stadium, which led to a myth that Ethiad means United, although it can have many meanings in arabic.

In 2013 there was a major incident with an Etihad A340 saw it divert to Singapore after turbulent weather during cruise generated unreliable airspeed data .


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