Skip to main content

Etihad cancels Shanghai flights following positive virus tests

Future travelers to the Chinese city will have to comply with stricter regulations from the Abu Dhabi-based airline.
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Large scale models of Etihad Boeing 787 Dream Liners are displayed near Terminal Four at Heathrow Airport on August 11, 2014 in London, England. Heathrow is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest in the world. The airport's operator BAA wants to build a third runway to cope with increased demand.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Etihad Airways canceled flights to and from Shanghai following passengers testing positive for the coronavirus on arrival there. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier will tighten already strict virus-related regulations on passengers as it continues to fly amid the pandemic.

Six passengers aboard an Aug. 3 flight from Abu Dhabi to Shanghai tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 upon landing in the Chinese city. The passengers presented negative COVID-19 tests taken within 96 hours of their flight, which is a requirement for all passengers entering, transiting through and leaving the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They also did not exhibit symptoms, an Etihad Airways spokesperson told Al-Monitor.

In accordance with Chinese aviation law, Etihad canceled an Aug. 17 flight from Abu Dhabi to Shanghai and an Aug. 18 flight from Shanghai to Abu Dhabi.

The Gulf carrier is now instituting even stricter pre-flight testing regulations for future Shanghai flights. Passengers traveling there will now have to present a negative COVID-19 test completed within 48 hours before boarding the flight or proof of a test done at the airport from which they arrived to Abu Dhabi, the spokesperson said.

Passengers flying Etihad anywhere must show test results from an Emirati government-approved center.

Etihad Airways is working to stay in the skies after earlier flight bans. In March, the UAE government grounded most passenger flights in and out of the country. Etihad started flying regularly scheduled flights again in June and is now offering services to around half of its pre-pandemic destinations.

Etihad and other Middle East airlines have experienced massive financial losses due to the downturn in global travel resulting from the coronavirus. Etihad’s revenues from passenger flights dropped from $950 million in the first quarter all the way to $60 million in the second quarter of 2020, the airline announced this month. In May, Etihad cut hundreds of jobs.

The airline is not the only one to have to cancel flights after passengers tested positive. In June, the Dubai-based carrier Emirates suspended Pakistan flights for the same reason.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial