Etihad Airways will add its impressive new Business Studio suites to its Boeing 777 fleet in a move to raise the business class bar across most of the airline's international flights.
The Business Studios will also make their way onto the airline's forthcoming Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X jets, although in a slightly modified form to better suit each aircraft's size.
Etihad President and CEO James Hogan told Australian Business Traveller that all new Boeing 777s being delivered to Etihad from 2015 will feature the new business class cabin.
With direct aisle access, a 22 inch wide seat and separate ottoman which forms a lie-flat bed up to 80.5 inches (2.04 metres) long, the Business Studios will be a quantum leap from Etihad's current Boeing 777 business class seats.
Next year the airline will also begin an ambitious program to retrofit the Business Studios onto some 60 current Boeing 777 jets.
"It will depend on the age of the aircraft and where they are in their product cycle" Hogan explained.
"The ones with the first generation (business class) seats, we'll do those first."
A lower priority would be aircraft with the current business class "that in some cases only has been on board for a couple of years" Hogan said. "So we've just got to work through the cycle."
Hogan expects the refit program "will take four years."
Australian Business Traveller is visiting Abu Dhabi as a guest of Etihad Airways.
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