03/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Etihad Airways Starting Non-Stop Chicago To Abu Dhabi Flights

Chicago is set to gain its first direct flights to the Persian Gulf region Sept. 2, when Etihad Airways begins non-stop service to its home base of Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Despite a global downturn that has hurt passenger demand for long-range flying, Etihad is moving forward with rapid expansion plans aimed at creating a global network that centers on Abu Dhabi, the region's cultural center, which sits atop 8 percent of the world's oil reserves.

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