The UAE’s national airline Etihad Airways has operated its first flight to the new International Terminal C at Moscow Sheremetyevo Alexander S Pushkin International Airport (SVO) in Russia.

This development comes 13 years after Abu Dhabi connected with Moscow for the first time.

Flight EY63, on a 787 Dreamliner, left Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) at 9:35am and reached Moscow at 2:25pm on 2 December.

The returning flight, EY64, flew from Moscow to Abu Dhabi at 3:50pm on the same day.

Etihad Aviation Group CEO Tony Douglas said: “After 13 years connecting our two capital cities, we’re delighted to introduce the 787 on this route and move to Russia’s newest and most sophisticated airport, providing better connectivity for guests between Abu Dhabi and Moscow in support of our objective to grow trade and tourism opportunities between our two countries.

“Supported by an increased daily flight schedule providing Russian holidaymakers and business travellers with even more opportunity to visit the UAE, this is the start of a new phase in relations building on the strong economic ties between Moscow and Abu Dhabi.”

The move by Etihad Airways to serve SVO, received as the country’s largest in terms of passenger and cargo traffic, will be complemented by the deepening of ties with Russia’s Aeroflot.

Under this alliance, the airlines will offer codeshare services throughout their networks as well as collaborate on other opportunities to provide better services.

Citizens of the UAE can get an entry visa to Russia on arrival.

Meanwhile, Russian citizens can obtain a visa on arrival on reaching the UAE.

This will not be charged and last for 30 days, with an option to extend the validity for another 30 days for a fee.

In April, Etihad Airways started testing the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass on flights from Abu Dhabi to North America.