Etihad Airways has announced a new route to Japan that will see the airline flying to Osaka five times a week from October this year. 

The new route from Abu Dhabi will be serviced by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner hosting almost 300 passengers beginning on October 1 2023. 

CEO Antonoaldo Neves said: “As one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, I know visitors will enjoy exploring its heritage and sampling some of Osaka’s renowned hospitality. 

“Equally, the new route opens up Abu Dhabi to visitors from Osaka and we look forward to welcoming guests to our vibrant home as well as giving them access to our growing global network.” 

Etihad currently operates a route to Tokyo meaning the Osaka flights to Kansai Airport will be the company’s second gateway to Japan, catering for the over 30,000,000 tourists that visit the country every year. 

Japan was also host to Etihad’s first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) flight in 2022 with a 40% blend of SAF supplied in Japan, making it the first international business to utilise a blend of the fuel from Japan. 

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The flight was part of the airline’s commitment to halving its emissions by 2035, based on 2019 levels and achieving net zero by 2050, something that has been a large focus for many airlines in recent years. 

Highlighting the offerings to tourists in Osaka, Etihad described the city as boasting a “world-class culinary scene” thanks to Michelin-starred restaurants and local delicacies such as okonomiyaki. 

Only last month, Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida described Osaka’s effort to create the country’s first integrated resort as an “important initiative in promoting a tourism-oriented country,” highlighting the city’s importance to Japan’s future tourism offerings. 

The 49-hectare integrated resort, meaning a casino with an integrated hotel and entertainment options such as a theme park and fine dining on Yumeshima Island, is expected to cost $8.1bn and will host Japan’s first casino since they were permitted through a 2018 integrated resort law.