The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (L.A. Area Chamber) and the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council hosted senior American and Emirati dignitaries, business executives, and community thought leaders for lunch to celebrate the launch of new non-stop flights between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Thursday, June11th in Los Angeles, California.
The event, held at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, featured remarks by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and a keynote speech by Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan. United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba and the United States Ambassador to the U.A.E. the Honorable Michael H Corbin were also honored guests, along with senior staff from both Embassies and newly appointed U.A.E. Consul General Abdulla Al Saboosi.
U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council President Danny Sebright and L.A. Area Chamber President & CEO Gary L. Toebben set the stage for the luncheon with welcome remarks outlining the economic and trade significance of the new Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles route to the business communities in both cities. In doing so, Sebright pointed to a new report released by the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council this month highlighting the rapid growth of the U.S.-U.A.E. commercial aviation relationship over the last year and the projections for its future economic potential.
Following an introduction from Sebright, Mayor Garcetti provided the audience with background on the important commercial links already in place between LA and Abu Dhabi before highlighting areas of potential growth enhanced by the new route. In his remarks, Mayor Garcetti noted that the existing relationship spans the economic spectrum, beyond strong ties in the film and entertainment industry. He underscored the importance of engagement between global cities and the importance of Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E. as a gateway to the broader Middle East and to key markets in Africa and Asia.
“Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi share a focus on job creation and improving key linkages with the global market,” said Mayor Garcetti.
“I am honored to welcome a new link between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi with optimism and confidence that the route will enhance existing relationships and serve to open new economic, trade, and business doors between our two communities.”
Following Mayor Garcetti’s comments, Mr. Hogan took the stand to deliver a keynote speech highlighting the significance of Etihad Airways’ LAX service to the Emirati airline’s broader global expansion strategy and role as a conduit for increased commercial and social exchange.
In his remarks, Hogan pointed to Etihad Airways’ growing order ledger of American-made aircraft and parts as well as the airline’s codeshare with American Airlines, to underscore the value of U.S.-U.A.E. commercial partnership and job sustainment from his perspective. He noted that security remained a chief concern with all U.S.-bound Etihad Airways flights, including the new LA route, serviced by the first U.S. Customs andBorder Patrol pre-clearance facility in the Middle East region at Abu Dhabi International Airport. During his speech, Mr. Hogan described Etihad Airways’ plans to open more routes in the U.S. and he underscored theimportance of the American commercial aviation industry as a key provider and partner.
“As a U.A.E.-based global carrier and Abu Dhabi’s flagship airline, Etihad Airways takes pride in providing superior service to communities from around the globe,” said Hogan. “This new link between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi will undoubtedly and significantly enhance business, commercial, and leisure opportunities for air travelers supporting the U.S., U.A.E., and the global economies.”
Following keynote remarks, the floor was opened for a question and answer session with Mr. Hogan joined by Ambassador Al Otaiba and Ambassador Corbin. During the exchange, local and international executives were given the opportunity to engage Hogan and the Ambassadors about commercial and diplomatic implications of the new AUH-LAX service. Topics covered throughout the session included the viability of Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E. as a business destination for American companies looking to service the broader MENA region, opportunities for bilateral foreign direct investment and increased commercial partnership, and Etihad Airways’ plans for further expansion into new U.S. and global markets.
“Each new non-stop flight between the U.S. and U.A.E. increases business and trade, and deepens cultural understanding between our two countries,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “The U.A.E. is already the U.S.’ largest trading partner in the Middle East, and Etihad Airways’ new flight from Los Angeles will create even more opportunities for growth.”
“The rapid expansion of Emirati airlines, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Dubai’s Emirates Airline, is indicative of the U.A.E.’s growing stance as a global crossroads and international transit hub,” said Ambassador Corbin. “It is important to highlight the role commercial aviation plays in boosting U.S.-U.A.E. commerce while supporting American and Emirati jobsacross the supply chain economy.”
The L.A. Area Chamber and U.S.-U.A.E. Business Councilco-hosted business luncheon is one of several policy and industry-focused events this week in Los Angeles celebrating the launch of Etihad Airways non-stop flights between AUH and LAX. For more information about Etihad Airways and the airline’s business in the United States, visit: www.etihad.com/en-us/.