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Etihad Airways Completes Humanitarian Flight to Cuba

An Etihad 777-200 at LAX (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

There is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to the current global pandemic’s effects on the airline industry. Even though airlines across the world have been required to cut capacity and then attempt to rebound to make up the losses, Etihad Airways is one of the few airlines that have been able to reach a positive milestone in recent months. In Etihad’s case, it celebrated its first official landing in Cuba.

Following the suspension of flights to and from the United Arab Emirates on March 24, Etihad has operated special humanitarian flights to 32 cities around the world, all of which are not currently served by the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s passenger or cargo network of flights.

The special goodwill flight to Cuba, charted by the government of the UAE, was filled with Cuban nationals eager to return home and reunite with their family members upon arrival in the capital. Of the 32 cities, Havana, Cuba is the latest addition to an expanding list of special charter flights, aimed at carrying essential medical supplies and returning citizens back to their home countries safely.

Additionally, Etihad will continue to operate special passenger, freight and charter flights to 62 other destinations. The airline hopes to expand its extensive plan while it prepares to resume a more normalized schedule of flights into and from its Abu Dhabi hub.

Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Etihad Aviation Group Senior Vice President Government, International and Communications, is honored to be a part of planning these special flights and mobilizing the airline’s resources to help those in need during this difficult time. 

 “All of us at Etihad feel a collective sense of pride, and humility, in the knowledge that we have been able to fully mobilize our resources at a time of great difficulty and suffering, to provide essential aerial lifelines to those in need,” Al Qubaisi said in a prepared statement. “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.”

Despite the effects of the global pandemic on the airline industry’s operations, the carrier continues showcasing its goodwill by reaching out to its partners around the world and working to connect them through special flight operations. As the airline industry attempts to rebound and gradually return its own operations back to normal, Etihad has made the global goodwill flights in order to extend a hand in helping, one of its top priorities, according to Al Quabaisi.

“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,” Al Quabaisi added. “We will continue to work with our partners around the world to play our part as things gradually return to normal.”

Benjamin Pham


  • Benjamin Pham

    Benjamin has had a love for aviation since a young age, growing up in Tampa with a strong interest in airplane models and playing with them. When he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Benjamin took part in aviation photography for a couple of years at Gravelly Point and Dulles Airport, before dedicating planespotting to only when he traveled to the other airports. He is an avid, world traveler, having been able to reach 32 countries, yearning to explore and understand more cultures soon. Currently, Benjamin is an Air Transporation Management student at Arizona State University. He hopes to enter the airline industry to improve the passenger experience and loyalty programs while keeping up to how technology is being integrated into airports.

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