(MENAFN - Arab News) Etihad Airways has marked eight years of flights to Beirut, the airline's first commercial destination.
Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said: "Beirut holds a very special place in the history of Etihad Airways and I am delighted to be able to celebrate this important milestone today."
The UAE flag carrier has carried more than 820,000 passengers and 700,000 tons of cargo between the Lebanese and UAE capitals since the historic first flight on November 12, 2003.
Hogan led a high-level delegation to Beirut as part of the anniversary celebrations, and met the Lebanese Minister for Transport, His Excellency Ghazi AL Aridi, Middle East Airlines Chairman, Mohamed Al Hout, Lebanese Civil Aviation Authorities and senior Lebanese government officials.
The focus of the meetings was to strengthen Etihad Airways' presence in the Lebanese market and promote tourism and travel connectivity over the airline's Abu Dhabi hub, including the airline's new route to Lagos, Nigeria.
More than eighty thousand Lebanese live in the West African country and connectivity over the UAE capital has been optimiZed to fit with flights to and from Beirut.
Hogan also hosted special cocktail and dinner functions attended by ambassadors as well as leading representatives from the Lebanese Civil Aviation Authorities and Lebanese Australian Business Group.
"Lebanon is a strategically important market for Etihad Airways. We operated our very first commercial route to this beautiful city in 2003 starting with five services a week. Since then, we have invested heavily in the route, in our codeshare agreement with Middle East Airlines, and in our Lebanese staff - who today number more than 100.
The Beirut flight schedule provides both morning and afternoon departures between Abu Dhabi and Lebanon also offers seamless connectivity over Abu Dhabi for Etihad Airways flights to and from Africa and Asia.