Etihad Airways has unveiled details at the Dubai Air Show of a major investment programme to upgrade its expanding fleet, awarding Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) contracts to upgrade seating and in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems in the airline’s fleet of six Boeing B777 aircraft and 10 of the airline’s Airbus A320s.
The Boeing B777 retrofit programme involves replacing and reconfiguring economy class seats as well as upgrading existing IFE to the latest Thales i5000 system. The cabins of the Airbus A320s will be completely refurbished to the latest Etihad specification.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “This deal further cements Abu Dhabi’s growing status as a global aviation centre. The award of this contract demonstrates the confidence we have in Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies to provide the high quality engineering skills and expertise to manage this important retrofit programme successfully.”
John Byers, CEO of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) support responsibilities with Etihad to include this prestigious contract.
“We are very much aligned with Etihad’s quality strategy and are working towards replicating their seven star standards, which is becoming the marque of Abu Dhabi. We will receive the first of Etihad’s B777 fleet in early December and with aircraft inductions at a rate of two per month, we will complete the upgrade programme by August 2010.”
The announcement comes just days after Etihad Airways was voted the ‘world’s leading airline’ and ‘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.
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