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Etihad Boeing 787's in three-class and two-class versions

By David Flynn     Filed under: Etihad, Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Etihad will split its Boeing 787-9 fleet into two versions, one with a new-design first class suite and the other with only business and economy class.

The Gulf carrier is Boeing's largest airline customer for the Dreamliner with 71 of the next-gen jets on order, broken down into 41 of the Boeing 787-9 and 30 of the larger 787-10.

Etihad President and CEO James Hogan told Australian Business Traveller that the 787-9 fleet would be divided into 20 three-class configurations and 21 with a two-class layout.

The Dreamliner's debut routes to Dusseldorf, Washington DC and Mumbai will see the three-class version, which features a new eight of the new First Suites designed specifically for the Boeing 787.

Read: Etihad's Boeing 787 first class suite 

There will also be 28 business class 'Business Studios' plus 199 Economy Smart Seats for a total of 235 passengers.

However, the two-class Dreamliners will drop the private suites for a larger business class cabin and possibly an additional mini-cabin for economy.

Hogan said the arrangement would be similar to Etihad's current split of three-class and two-class Boeing 777s.

"The three-class Boeing 787s will be primarily placed into capital cities where we believe there is a strong demand for premium travel" Hogan told Australian Business Traveller.

"On secondary cities and gateways where we don't see the demand we will operate two-class."

"What we've seen is that most European carriers have retreated from first class, so this gives us more opportunity to sell where we are confident there is still a market for first class"

Australian Business Traveller is visiting Abu Dhabi as a guest of Etihad Airways.

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

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