Two decades in-flight: Burj Khalifa lights up for Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways first Airbus A380 out of storage arrived at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
Fasttailwind /

Celebrating two decades in operation, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), lit up the iconic Burj Khalifa in a spectacular light and sound event.

On November 12, 2023, Etihad Airways marked its 20th anniversary since its inaugural commercial flight to Beirut, Lebanon, in 2003. According to Antonoaldo Neves, the CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, even though the airline has already expanded its fleet to 79 aircraft, and has been serving more than 70 destinations worldwide, the carrier currently follows its new goal to double the existing fleet by 2030.

The workforce level has also significantly grown, increasing from 1,761 in 2004 to the current staff of nearly 10,000 aviation professionals, according to Etihad’s statement.

“We wish to express our profound pride in Etihad as we turn 20, and what could be more fitting than commemorating our journey on the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Our journey so far has been about more than flights […],” Neves said.

“Looking ahead, we have big plans. By 2030, we aim to double our fleet and welcome three times as many guests, reaching 33 million people each year. We will increase visitors to our home in Abu Dhabi and continue to connect travelers across the globe through our growing network,” the CEO concluded.

Aiming to extend the celebration and enhance its passengers’ experience throughout November, Etihad Airways introduced a new inflight culinary menu, showcasing signature dishes from the UAE and personalized items inspired by the destinations served by the carrier.

As per the Etihad statement, the anniversary initiative also coincides with the airline’s relocation to Terminal A at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), which transition is scheduled to be finalized be November 14, 2023. At the new terminal, the carrier has already revealed its latest three-floor lounges, providing inviting spaces for dining and relaxation.

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