Etihad heads to Brazil
Etihad Airways will launch daily non-stop service from Abu Dhabi to Sao Paulo starting in June 2013. According to a company press release, the A340-600 routing will be the first direct link between Abu Dhabi and South America.
While the new flights are aimed at increasing tourism between the two countries, significant airfreight opportunities exist. Etihad officials predict exports from the United Arab Emirates to Brazil will include steel, aluminum goods, plastics and oil rigs. Imports to the UAE will include construction vehicles, sugar, meat and soya beans. The new service will also allow better connections between the Brazil and markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council, according to the press release.
"Brazil is one of the fastest growing economies of the world and offers a wide array of opportunities for trade and investment. Sao Paulo is a vibrant city and a preferred business destination in Latin America," Gastao Dia Vieria, Brazil's minister of tourism, said in a statement. "As the first Etihad destination in the region, it is also a gateway for neighboring countries."
Etihad pegs the value of bilateral trade between Brazil and the UAE at $2.85 billion.
In its quest to fly to 100 destinations by 2020, Etihad has already in 2012 announced services to Basra, Lagos, Vietnam and Washington, D.C.
“Brazil is a logical next step for us," Etihad CEO James Hogan stated, "and will mark the sixth continent we serve and our coming of age as a truly global airline."