Etihad will be flying both the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 by the end of this year as the Gulf carrier continues the rapid growth which has seen it catapult from a startup to a world-class global airline in just 10 years.
The Boeing 787 is expected to be first to join the fleet, with a stretched 787-9 making its inaugural in the fourth quarter.
Etihad intends to split its fleet of 40 Boeing 787-9s into two-class and three-class versions, giving the airline added flexibility on choosing and changing its Dreamliner routes.
The baseline configuration would sport the standard business and economy classes, with a compact first class cabin likely for the three-class edition.
Etihad has also placed an order for 30 of the super-stretched Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner with deliveries expected to start in 2018.
The 787-10 is the largest version of the Dreamliner family, "typically carrying more than 320 passengers" Etihad says.
That compares to to a minimum of 210 seats on the original 787-8 and 250-290 for the longer 787-9, although the -10's added length is more about maximising carrying capacity for passengers and cargo rather than extending its flight range.
Etihad's first Airbus A380 will arrive in December, and the remaining nine will be called on to fill out a superjumbo route map from Abu Dhabi to New York, London, Sydney and Melbourne.
The A380s will carry a standard three-class layout of first, business and economy.
Etihad CEO: we're playing to win
Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan last year described the airline's bold expansion as a "play to win" move driven in part by its neighbouring Gulf carriers.
"When you have Emirates on one side and Qatar on the other, you can't afford to play catch up – you have to win" Hogan said in a speech to the Australia Pacific Aviation Summit in Sydney last year.
In the superjumbo stakes Qatar Airways will take delivery of its first three A380s in June this year, although both airlines are dwarfed by Gulf carrier kingpin Emirates, which already has 44 A380s in the air from a total order of 140.
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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.