IN BRIEF | Etihad Airways has pipped Qantas for bragging rights over the world's largest fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
The Middle Eastern airline, which already has 31 of the next-gen jetliners on order, today revealed it has signed up for 10 more.
The Boeing 787-9 lists for A$228m a piece (although you can be certain that Etihad got a 'bulk buy' discount).
That's six above Qantas, which will take 35 of the stretched 787-9 models to be shared between Qantas and Jetstar (plus another 15 of the smaller 787-8, initially for Jetstar.)
Etihad expects its first 787-9 between late 2014 and 2019, after the first 787-9 is handed over to launch customer Air New Zealand. (ANA was the launch partner for the original 787 and debuted the first commercial Dreamliner service in October – you can read our review of the ANA 787 flight here, and also check out our extensive gallery of photos from inside the ANA 787.)
Etihad says its 787-9 will carry up to 300 passengers and will initially fly to destinations including Dublin, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Nagoya, Delhi and Istanbul.
"The Dreamliner is a wonderful aircraft which will provide a great experience for our guests" said Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Hogan.
"Our decision to expand our Dreamliner fleet is testimony to Etihad’s commitment to operating one of the youngest and most fuel efficient fleets in the skies. It also reflects our confidence in the 787’s ability to have a significant impact on our operating efficiencies and the passenger experience we can offer onboard this revolutionary aircraft."
Also in AusBT's extensive Boeing 787 Dreamliner coverage...
Japanese airline ANA is Boeing's launch customer for the 787 Dreamliner – step right up for a 'virtual photo tour' of ANA's factory-fresh 787 which we snapped during Boeing's launch of the Dreamliner in Seattle. Read more...
What's it like to fly in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner? We visited Tokyo as a guest of ANA for a special 90 minute ‘excursion flight’ from Narita which provided a taste of what the Dreamliner will deliver for travellers (and yes, there's much more than rainbow-like cabin lighting). Read more...
Bothersome sliding window shades begone! Boeing’s newly-minted 787 Dreamliner sports ‘digital window tinting’ which makes the glass go dark at the touch of a button. Read more...
Check out the cool and potentially shagadelhic upstairs 'loft' space used by pilot and flight attendants during their scheduled breaks from duty on the 787. Read more...
Qantas will buy 50 Boeing 787s, but the first deliveries aren't expected until early 2013 – and those will be for budget offshoot Jetstar. The Red Roo won't get its own Dreamliners until as late as 2016, but you'll see the 787 on domestic as well as international flights. Read more...
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- United aims for first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights by mid-2012