Etihad Airways has unveiled details at the Dubai Air Show of a major investment programme to upgrade its expanding fleet, including a contract to install its luxurious new first class suites on board its wide-body aircraft.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline has awarded Lufthansa Technik the contract to replace the airline’s existing first class seat with its new BE Aerospace first class suite in nine Airbus A340 aircraft currently in service by the end of 2010. The engineering and conversion work involves a complete renovation of the cabin, galley areas and a new in-flight entertainment system.
Werner Rothenbaecher, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president technical, said: “The new first class suite is a stunning product and stands out in the premium travel market. It has been incredibly well-received and we are delighted to be able to roll it out across the A340 fleet so quickly.”
Walter Heerdt, senior vice president marketing and sales at Lufthansa Technik, said: “We are delighted at the trust that Etihad has placed in us by awarding us this challenging contract. We are confident that, with our extensive experience in VIP and commercial aircraft, we will be able to implement this high-tech modification to the very highest standard.”
The announcement comes just days after Etihad Airways was voted the ‘‘world’s leading first class airline” at the 2009 World Travel Awards (WTA) in London. It also coincides with the airline’s sixth anniversary, a period in which it has grown to serve 57 destinations, with a fleet of 49 aircraft expected to carry seven million passengers in 2009.
Visitors to the Dubai Air Show will be able to view the latest new Etihad Airways Airbus A340 fitted with the new first class cabin. The cabin contains 12 individual suites and provides first class customers with more privacy, greater comfort and increased storage.
The highlight is an extra-large seat that extends to a fully-flat bed, 80.5 inches in length. Each private suite is accessed by its own sliding door and includes a personal wardrobe and mini bar, as well as 23" wide-screen LCD screen which features more than 600 hours of ‘on demand’ entertainment.
The first class cabin also features a large and luxurious changing room to allow passengers to freshen up and change after take-off and prior to landing.
In addition to its two recently delivered new Airbus A340-600 aircraft, Etihad Airways will take delivery of a further five Airbus A330-300 aircraft with the new first class suites already installed during the next 18 months.
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