2021 marks 50 years since the establishment of the United Arab Emirates, a significant milestone for the country. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the national airline Etihad Airways has introduced its own program to reward residents and travelers. The series of activities will run from April 6th until December 31, 2021.

The program ‘Rising together at 50‘ will take place in three phases and giving away 50,000 to travelers from all over the world. The prizes will be given away during the course of the year and while Etihad has not said exactly what the prizes may be, examples include free flights and bonus Etihad Guest Miles, to discount vouchers for experiences across Abu Dhabi.

The three phases focus on the past ‘legacy of a nation’, present ‘values that unite’, and the future ‘hosting the world’. The first part will focus on the untold stories of the nation, and the second on collaborating with creators to co-create work that commemorates this auspicious occasion. Lastly, the third and most exciting for travellers, Etihad will encourage, support and facilitate individuals with hosting special visitors from around the world to experience the UAE’s warm welcome for themselves.

In a statement about the program, CEO Tony Douglas said,

“This year-long initiative demonstrates Etihad’s celebration of the past, and commitment to the next 50 years of this incredible country. As one of the UAE’s leading brands, Etihad is proud to bring the world to Abu Dhabi to be part of this celebration.”

Tourism is a vital part of the Emirati culture, especially in cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and has been impacted severely by the pandemic. However, the upcoming Expo 2020 in October and the 50th Year celebrations could help the revitalize the industry by attracting tourists once again.

While the pandemic has undeniably hurt airlines around the world, it came at a particularly tough time for Etihad. The airline was already drowning in multi-billion-dollar losses was hoping to turn itself around in 2020 and beyond. The onset of the pandemic put all its plans on hold, forcing the carrier to park up its fleet and trim its route map.

Unlike Emirates, Etihad has been a bit more cautious with its resumptions of routes. The airline already had a smaller route network than the other Middle East three, but COVID-19 could further shrink its reach. For now, the carrier is banking on the summer recovery to revive its fortunes.


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