The A380 is yet to fly and has not yet had its cabin interior – including Etihad’s innovative ‘The Residence‘ first class suite – fitted, and is due to be delivered to the Abu Dhabi-based airline in December, before entering service between Abu Dhabi and London on December 27.
Etihad’s first three A380s will be dedicated to the London route, allowing it to operate triple-daily A380 services on the route from early 2015, while subsequent deliveries will allow Etihad to operate the aircraft to Sydney from June 1 and New York “later in 2015″, the airline says.
Etihad says its entire fleet, currently just over 100 aircraft, will be repainted in the new colours over the next three years.
“This striking new livery … continues our commitment to breaking from convention and doing things differently. This is a real divergence from the norms of a traditional airline livery design and will stand out in the sky and at every airport we fly to,” Eithad president and CEO James Hogan said in a statement.
The livery was designed by brand consultants Landor Associates, and is intended to reflect “traditional Emirati design patterns, the landscapes of the desert and the geometric shapes found in the modern architecture of Abu Dhabi”, according to Etihad.
Boeing 787-9 DreamlinerEtihad Airways unveiled its first Boeing 787-9 today in its new livery, and will deploy the aircraft on revenue service from 1 December.
The aircraft, registered A6-BLA, will be formally delivered to Etihad in December. The airline had earlier this week showed off the new livery on its first Airbus A380 in Hamburg, but Etihad says the 787-9 will be the first to operate with the new livery on revenue flights.
Dusseldorf and Doha will be the first Etihad destinations to be served with the 787-9 from Abu Dhabi, followed by Washington Dulles and Mumbai in the first quarter. From June, Etihad will operate the 787-9 to Brisbane and Moscow.
"With the economics of the aircraft, the 787-9 will be one that will be very, very central to our flying and future expansion," says Etihad chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner at the 787-9 livery unveiling at Boeing's facilities in Everett, Washington.
Etihad has identified at least 40 routes that can potentially be served with the 787-9, he notes.
The airline's first 787-9 is configured with eight first class suites, 28 business class studios and 199 economy class seats. Of the 41 787-9s that the airline has ordered, about half will be delivered with a two-class configuration instead, says Baumgartner. This will help the airline cater to the supply and demand on different routes.
Baumgartner expresses confidence in Etihad's offering on the 787-9, saying that he believes the airline's product is "superior to" existing 787 operators. The first class cabin, configured in a 1-2-1 layout, comes with seats that convert into 80.5in fully flat beds, sliding doors and personal wardrobes.
Etihad's 787 cabin was a product of extensive work with Boeing, after the carrier initially balked at what was being offered in Boeing's 787 catalogue. "We looked at the catalogue when we already knew what we would do with the A380," says Baumgartner, adding that the airline had to have "tough conversations" with Boeing to improve upon what was offered in the catalogue. "We showed them what we were doing with someone else," Baumgartner says in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the A380.
Etihad expects to take delivery of two 787-9s by end-2014, and will have five 787-9s by end-2015, says Baumgartner. The airline also has orders for 30 787-10s. Baumgartner expects all 71 787s to be delivered to Etihad by end-2023.