To mark the start of the race, Etihad’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner flew directly above Yas Marina Circuit at an altitude of 600 ft. The UAE’s aerobatic stunt team, Al Fursan, followed in a V formation representing the seven emirates of the UAE. The flypast coincides with the airline’s 20th anniversary.
Watch the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Flypast
Four of Etihad’s most experienced pilots operated the flight, including Captain Driss Moussaoui, who has been flying for Etihad for two decades. Captain Abdullah Saleh led the flypast, supported by Captain Mohammed al Tamimi, both celebrating 18 years of service with Etihad. The timing of the flight coincided with the completion of the UAE’s national anthem and the start of the race. Captain Mimmo Catalano, who has flown with Etihad for 19 years, ensured the precision timing of the aircraft crossing the starting grid.
A Tradition Enjoyed by Formula 1 Fans Worldwide
Antonoaldo Neves, the Chief Executive Officer of Etihad, said: “This year, we’ve welcomed more international guests than ever before to this incredible event in Abu Dhabi. The flypast is a tradition enjoyed by fans on the ground and watched by millions around the world, and is a spectacular opening to the race.
“This year’s race is particularly exciting as it coincides with Etihad celebrating 20 years of flying as well as the opening of our new home, Terminal A, at Abu Dhabi International. Our talented pilots who operated today’s flight have clocked up almost twenty years of flying with Etihad each, representing the passion and dedication of our entire pilot community.”
Etihad Guest Platinum Tier Members Formula 1 Hospitality
In addition to the thrilling race, Etihad Guest members with Platinum tier status and Gold members with co-branded partner credit cards enjoyed exclusive hospitality. The airline hosted these VIPs in the new Etihad Guest Lounge between Abu Dhabi Hill and the Main Grandstand.
Abu Dhabi International’s New Terminal A Etihad Airways Lounges
This year, international visitors to the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix were among the first passengers to experience the new Terminal A at Abu Dhabi International Airport. This state-of-the-art terminal offers streamlined and biometric check-in services. Besides enjoying dedicated Business and First-class check-in areas, guests can also access the luxurious Etihad First and Business Class lounges. These feature dining and bar services, relaxation rooms, games rooms, and more.