This weekend, Etihad Airways is finishing up its first-ever flight from Abu Dhabi to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The flight, a goodwill repatriation service, first landed in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic before heading on to Costa Rica.
What was the journey about?
Etihad calls the operation a “goodwill flight,” transporting Costa Rican citizens home. Accompanying passengers is humanitarian aid from the Government of the United Arab Emirates, “to help Costa Rica in its fight against COVID-19,” the airline says.
While the arrival in Costa Rica was a first for the Middle Eastern carrier, the aircraft was also helping Dominican nationals get home from the UAE, with the flight landing first in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic.
In San Jose, the Etihad 787-9 was met by Costa Rican officials and diplomatic staff from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in San Jose.
The 787-9 took off from Abu Dhabi, UAE on June 11th, just before midnight as flight EY8203. After a flight time of 14.5 hours, the aircraft landed in Santo Domingo Las Americas International Airport, in the Dominican Republic. This took place at 06:05 the next morning (June 12th).
The aircraft was in Santo Domingo for just a short period of time – less than 90 minutes – before departing again to San Jose, Costa Rica. The aircraft took off at 07:20 and landed at San Jose Juan Santamaria International Airport at 07:51.
It looks like the aircraft spent a full day in San Jose, leaving roughly 24 hours later on the morning of June 13th for Santo Domingo. From here, data appears incomplete on FlightRadar24.com. The aircraft, flight EY8204, may have already departed for ‘home’ at Abu Dhabi, but this is not reflected in online data at the time of writing.
The aircraft taking on this long-haul mission is a 787-9 registered as A6-BLL. The jet is just over three years old and is listed as a lease from Goshawk Aviation with no previous operators.
Etihad’s repatriation services
As Etihad explains, with the UAE suspending all normal passenger flights to and from the country on March 24th, many migrant workers and tourists found themselves stranded, unable to leave the country.
Since the March 24th flight suspension, Etihad has operated special humanitarian services to 34 cities around the world. The airline says none of these special services are currently served by the airline’s passenger or cargo network of flights. They include faraway, remote destinations like Bogota (Colombia), Yerevan (Armenia), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Harare (Zimbabwe), and Kabul (Afghanistan) – and many more.
The airline also notes that it operated special humanitarian flights carrying essential medical and humanitarian cargo bound for the Palestinian Territories.
What do you think about Etihad’s special humanitarian services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.