Etihad Airways' first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 will take to the skies in December this year, with the superjumbo bound for London while inaugural Dreamliner services will run to Dusseldorf, followed by Washington DC and Mumbai.
Etihad will shift to a double daily A380 schedule between Abu Dhabi and London from the first quarter of 2015 with the delivery of its second superjumbo early in the new year.
Three more A380s will join the Etihad fleet in 2015 flying to Sydney from June 2015, and also New York.
More routes will be added as Etihad receives three more A380s in 2016, one of which is bound for Melbourne, and the final two of its ten-strong order in 2017.
Etihad has not revealed where they'll all be headed but says "the A380 will be used to provide additional seats on existing routes where there is a need for increased capacity, and in particular, high demand for first and business class travel."
Etihad's Airbus A380s will carry 498 passengers across three classes, although Etihad refers to these as 'four living spaces', these being
- two guests in The Residence VIP suites
- nine guests in the new first class Apartments
- 70 guests in the new Business Studios
- and 417 travellers in economy class
Big plans for the Boeing 787
Etihad's first Boeing 787-9 service will commence between Abu Dhabi and Dusseldorf in December this year.
Etihad says the Boeing 787-9 will be rostered onto Washington DC and Mumbai in January, with more routes to follow as more Dreamliners join the fleet from 2015 to 2017.
Following this, Brisbane and Perth are planned for the 'second wave' of Dreamliner deliveries.
That schedule maps out as three 787-9s in 2015, three in 2016 and nine in 2017 – totalling 15 aircraft within three years.
Etihad says "all five initial Boeing 787-9s" will carry 235 passengers, broken down as follows
However, some later versions will come in a two-class configuration which will drop the First Suites for a larger business class cabin and possibly an additional mini-cabin for economy.
Etihad says it will use the Boeing 787 "to launch flights to new destinations, add capacity to existing markets and progressively replace existing, less-efficient aircraft."
Australian Business Traveller is visiting Abu Dhabi as a guest of Etihad Airways.
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