Etihad Airways moves to make 787 Dreamliner its flagship long-haul aircraft

Etihad Airways will deploy the Dreamliner on five routes next year as the Boeing 787 gradually becomes the Abu Dhabi carrier’s flagship long haul aircraft.

Etihad expects to receive 66 Dreamliners over the coming years.

The 787-9 Dreamliner is Boeing’s high-tech fuel-efficient aircraft, which offers around 20 per cent fuel savings. Etihad received its first 787-9 Dreamliner last December.

Starting from May 2016, Etihad will deploy the 299-seat plane to Dusseldorf, Perth, Shanghai, Istanbul and Johannesburg. Currently, it flies five 787s to Brisbane, Washington, Singapore and Zurich from Abu Dhabi.

Etihad aims to use the Dreamliner to help it dominate the luxury traveller segment. The Abu Dhabi carrier raised the stakes of premium travel last year when it decided to revamp the interiors of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Take a look inside Etihad’s luxury Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet

Etihad’s 787-9 is configured between 28 business “studios” with larger seats that convert into flat beds, in addition to 271 economy seats. The new aircraft displays Etihad’s “contemporary modern Arabian design,” which was introduced during the re-launch of its livery last year.

For the A380, Etihad unveiled “The Residence by Etihad” on the upper deck of the superjumbo aircraft. The Residence accommodates single or double occupancy, it includes a living room, a separate double bedroom and an en suite shower room. Guests in The Residence also have a personal butler trained by the Savoy Butler Academy in London.

The big three Arabian Gulf carriers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in expanding their fleets, with Boeing’s Dreamliner and the Airbus A380 featuring largely among those purchases.

Emirates meanwhile said it too would deploy its A380 to more destinations across its network in 2016.

Birmingham (BHX), Prague (PRG) and Taipei (TPE) have been added to the list of Emirates A380 destinations, the Dubai-based carrier said. It means Emirates is the only airline to operate a scheduled A380 service from each of these destinations.

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