While some airlines are taking advantage of the efficiency of new generation airliner families to introduce new city pair options, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Etihad Airways will continue to utilise its Boeing 787 Dreamliners to more effectively serve its current network after revealing further deployment plans for the type for 2016.
Etihad currently operates five 787-9s serving the markets of Brisbane, Washington, Singapore and Zurich from its Abu Dhabi International Airport hub. The type will become the UAE national carrier’s flagship long-haul aircraft in the coming years with a further 66 aircraft due to be delivered.
A total of five additional aircraft are due next year over a seven-month period, beginning May 2016 and these will be deployed as replacements for existing aircraft on daily scheduled services to Dusseldorf, Perth, Shanghai, Istanbul and Johannesburg.
“Since introducing our first 787 into commercial service in February, we have enjoyed excellent feedback from guests of our ground-breaking cabin interiors that have set a benchmark for high service levels in the region and across the world,” said James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways.
The carrier will configure these latest 787-9s in a two-class 299-seat layout featuring 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats, offering superior levels of comfort, entertainment and in-flight connectivity to the existing aircraft models in its fleet. Its existing 787-9 fleet is configured in a three-class arrangement.
The first of the new aircraft will be deployed on the Abu Dhabi – Dusseldorf route on a daily basis from May 1, 2016. The German city was among the initial destinations to see scheduled Etihad 787 passenger services during February and March this year, but is currently scheduled to be served by an Airbus A330-300.
The 787-9 will then replace an A330-200 on the daily Abu Dhabi – Perth route from June 1, 2016, a A330-200 on a daily Abu Dhabi – Shanghai rotation from August 1, 2016, an A340-500 on the daily Abu Dhabi – Istanbul service also from August 1, 2016 and an A330-200 on the daily Abu Dhabi – Johannesburg route from November 1, 2016.