Speaking to ATW on the sidelines of the World Route Development Forum in Las Vegas, Los Angeles World Airports public relations director Mary Grady said LAX has been trying to land Etihad since 2008. “These discussions can take years,” she said. “It is a process, but it’s worth the time and effort.”
The Etihad AUH-LAX service, subject to regulatory approval, will be the first direct connection between the UAE capital and Los Angeles, which will become Etihad’s fourth US destination after Chicago O’Hare, New York JFK and Washington Dulles.
The service announcement marks another win for LAX’s new $1.9 billion international terminal, which opened in September. Eight gates are now in operation; when the facility is completed in 2015, it will have 18 gates.
The terminal has been drawing international service commitments. Norwegian Air Shuttle will start operating 787s between Copenhagen and LAX twice weekly and between Stockholm and LAX twice weekly starting in March 2014. It will also operate a weekly Dreamliner flight between Oslo and LAX from June 1, 2014.
Additionally, American Airlines will launch daily LAX-Sao Paulo flights from Dec. 16; Saudi Arabia’s Saudia plans to start Jeddah-LAX flights from April 1, 2014; and Cathay Pacific Airways announced Oct. 8 it will add a fourth daily Hong Kong-LAX flight from June 1, 2014.
“Airlines are seeing some new market opportunities at LAX,” Grady said. “Airlines know we have made a commitment to international passengers with the new terminal.”
The Etihad 777-200LR operating between AUH and LAX will be configured to carry 237 passengers, comprising eight first-class seats, 40 business seats and 189 economy seats.
(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)