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Once the changes take effect, the airline will fly all 28 weekly services to China’s four main gateways – Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong – with the next generation Dreamliner aircraft.
The 787-9 service to Chengdu will feature Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy cabins, configured with 299 seats – 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats. The upgrade of aircraft will also see an increase in belly-hold cargo capacity of four tonnes.
The 787-10 service to Shanghai will be configured with 336 seats – 32 Business Studios and 304 Economy Smart. Belly-hold cargo capacity will be increased by two and a half tonnes.
Robin Kamark, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are delighted to include Chengdu to our growing list of Dreamliner destinations. The move marks a milestone for Etihad as all our Chinese gateways will now be served by these technologically advanced aircraft, ensuring our guests experience the latest in-flight product innovations. We are equally pleased to be upgrading our Shanghai flights to our 787-10 aircraft.”
“China is an incredibly important market for Etihad and we have significantly grown our presence there since launching services to Beijing in 2008. Abu Dhabi’s non-oil trade shows that China is among the top-five countries with key trade relations with the emirate. We look forward to building on these strong foundations and for our guests to experience our 787 Dreamliner product on their flights to and from China.”
Etihad Airways recently celebrated 10 years of direct flights between Abu Dhabi and China, the capital-capital airlink was launched in 2008. Since 2008, the airline has carried over four and a half million passengers between Abu Dhabi and China.
The airline has witnessed significant yearly growth in passenger numbers on its services to and from China, further boosted by codeshare agreements with partner airlines and the mutual visa-exemption policy between the UAE and China, implemented in January 2018.