In a significant boost to inbound Australian tourism, Etihad Airways has revealed its new Airbus A380 will operate services to Sydney from 1 June 2015.
The world’s largest airliner will initially operate Etihad Airways’ daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Sydney – EY454 (Abu Dhabi to Sydney) and EY455 (Sydney to Abu Dhabi) – replacing the Boeing 777-300, which the airline currently deploys on the route.
In turn, a Boeing 777-300 aircraft will operate the airline’s four weekly Abu Dhabi-Sydney services – EY450 and EY451 – which together with the daily A380 and partner airline Virgin Australia’s three weekly 777 flights offer travellers a double daily option.
These fleet changes will increase weekly capacity on the high-demand Sydney route by 1,320 making a total of 4,784 seats in each direction.
They will also see the introduction of Etihad Airways’ much anticipated, all-new product and service offering in its first, business and economy cabins – including The Residence by Etihad™, the world’s most luxurious living space in the air, available only on the airline’s A380 aircraft.
Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said the new A380 services would offer travellers on the Sydney route an unrivalled level of luxury, comfort and service.
“The new living spaces on our A380s will raise inflight product and service standards to the highest level ever in commercial aviation and change forever travellers’ expectations of air travel,” he said.
“Ours are not only the most advanced aircraft cabins in the industry, they meet all weight, range and cost targets at our desired seat count.”
Hogan said the deployment of the A380 on the Sydney route from 1 June would provide Australian travellers, including guests of partner airline Virgin Australia, with the added convenience and comfort of a daily continuous A380 service to London.
“With seamless connections in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways’ A380s will transform the ultra-long haul flying experience for guests in all cabins, ensuring they arrive at their destination – be that Sydney or London – in great shape,” he said.
The Etihad Airways Airbus A380 is designed to carry 496 passengers in four living spaces, including two VIP guests in The Residence by Etihad, nine guests in the First Apartments, 70 in Business Class Studios, and 415 in Economy Class.
The Residence is the world’s first private three-room cabin on a commercial aircraft. Accommodating single or double occupancy, it features a living/dining room, separate double bedroom and ensuite bathroom with its own shower. Guests in The Residence will also enjoy the dedicated services and personal attention of a Butler.
Etihad Airways A380 will also feature the airline’s revolutionary First Apartments, which are private suites with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed, as well as a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit and wardrobe.
The A380 will also offer the airline’s next-generation Business Studio, which features direct aisle access in a dovetail (forward and aft) layout, together with a 22-inch wide seat and separate ottoman that together create a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long.
The Economy Smart Seat is customised with a unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest, which offers greater comfort and relaxation to guests. Upholstered in camel leather sourced in the UAE, the headrest provides a firm surface for guests to rest their heads, as well as additional privacy between seats. There is a fleece blanket and pillow on every seat as well as a convenient entertainment and connectivity hub in the seatback in front with all services in easy reach.
Etihad Airways has 10 Airbus A380s on firm order, the first of which will be delivered in December 2014.