Etihad Airways has unveiled plans to fly its newest aircraft to three major cities in the Far East.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier will take delivery of nine more Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in 2017, and some these will be deployed on the routes to Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul.
The long-haul jets come equipped with the airline’s new livery and its latest in-flight products, including the new “Business Studio” and 271 “Economy Smart” seats, Panasonic’s eX3 in-flight entertainment system and Wi-Fi. In total they can seat 299 passengers.
“Since introducing our first 787 into commercial service almost two years ago, we have enjoyed excellent feedback from guests on our ground-breaking cabin interiors that have set a benchmark for high service levels in the region and across the world,” said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad’s CEO. “With the additional cities joining our 787 network during 2017, we are giving more guests the opportunity to fly on our next generation aircraft.”
At present, two cities in the Far East – Tokyo and Singapore – welcome Etihad’s Dreamliners. And Shanghai will join this network on 1 March 2017 when the aircraft replaces the existing Airbus A330-200 on the daily service. This switch will result in a capacity increase of more than 30 seats per flight.
Then on 1 July 2017, the airline will upgrade its Abu Dhabi-Beijing route from the A330 to the 787-9. This service will also operate daily. And finally on 1 August 2017, South Korea will join Etihad’s Dreamliner network when the airline switches its Seoul service from an A340, although this will result in a slight decrease in capacity.
Etihad currently operates a fleet of 10 787-9s to nine destinations: Dusseldorf, Zurich, Perth, Brisbane, Tokyo, Singapore, Riyadh, Johannesburg and Washington DC. Other new Dreamliner destinations being added in 2017 include Amman, Beirut and Athens.
Eventually the Dreamliner will become the mainstay of Etihad’s long-haul fleet; 61 of the twin-aisle jets will be delivered to the airline over the next few years.