Etihad Airways was established as the second flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates in July 2003 by Royal (Amiri) Decree issued by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who wanted an airline for Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan established the airline. It started with an initial paid-up capital of AED500 million. Services were launched with a ceremonial flight to Al Ain on 5 November 2003. On 12 November 2003, Etihad commenced commercial operations with the launch of services to Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to the establishment of Etihad, Gulf Air was the airline which was based at Abu Dhabi International Airport and was also co-owned by Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman.