The switch to the B787-9 marks a 14% increase in capacity on the Abu Dhabi-Shanghai route, including a 27% rise in business class seats compared to the Airbus A330 that previously served Shanghai. The new aircraft, which is adorned in Etihad’s new livery, comes equipped with a total of 299 seats – 28 in business class and 271 in economy.
Etihad’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner arrives in Shanghai
Etihad said the Dreamliner would enhance its “growing reputation amongst the business community in China, with the aircraft specifically catering to the long-haul business market”.
The 28 Business Studio seats extend to form fully-flat beds and feature 18-inch touchscreen monitors and noise-cancelling headsets. The aircraft is also equipped with Wi-Fi.
“Since launching flights between Shanghai and Abu Dhabi four years ago, we have experienced first-hand the huge growth of China’s outbound tourism market and enjoyed strong demand from both business and leisure travellers,” said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad’s CEO. “The decision to upgrade to the Boeing 787 reflects the importance of Shanghai and China to the airline.
“The additional capacity will enable more Chinese business and leisure travellers to enjoy seamless one-stop connections over the Abu Dhabi hub to over 40 destinations across the Gulf region, Europe, Africa and South America,” he added.
The flight times on the route remain unchanged, with services leaving Abu Dhabi at 2225 and arriving at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport at 1110 the next morning. The return flights then leave Shanghai at 0030 and arrive back in Abu Dhabi at 0615 the same day.
Shanghai becomes the seventh Dreamliner destination for Etihad, following Brisbane, Düsseldorf, Perth, Singapore, Washington DC and Zurich. The airline expects to take delivery of 62 B787s over the next few years, as the aircraft becomes the backbone of its long-haul fleet.