30 May 2016 © David Eyre
Etihad surprised the locals with an early visit to Perth by its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner today, in place of the usual Airbus A330-200.
It is not known why the 787 was operating the route today, but may have been due to the scheduled Airbus A330-200 having a technical issue.
Today’s surprise visit was flown by A6-BLF (MSN 39651/416), the sixth 787 out of seven delivered to Etihad so far. The aircraft is only two months old, having first flown on 31 Mar 2016 and was delivered to Etihad on 29 April 2016, entering service on 1 May 2016 as the first Dreamliner service on the Abu Dhabi – Dusseldorf route.
The aircraft is in three-class configuration, with 8 First Class Suites (4-abreast), 28 Business Class seats (8-abreast staggered) and 199 Economy seats (9-abreast), a total of 235 passengers. Perth is supposed to be getting two-class configured aircraft, with 22 Business Class seats and 240 Economy Class seats for a total of 262 passengers.
A6-BLF departed gate 60 at Abu Dhabi as flight EY486 around 1 hour 13 minutes behind schedule, at 11:43pm Abu Dhabi time (3:43am Perth time) – it was scheduled to depart at 10:30pm (Abu Dhabi time). However, the aircraft was able to make up time en route by using a higher cruise speed, landing on Perth’s runway 06 at 1:47pm, after a flight of 10 hours 4 minutes and parked at Bay 150 (Gate 50) at Terminal 1 Domestic at 1:56pm.
-The return flight EY487 took off from Perth’s runway 21 at 5:15pm for the return to Abu Dhabi.
Etihad commenced services to Perth from Abu Dhabi on 16 July 2014, with the initial service flown by an Airbus A340-600, but the Airbus A330-200 normally operated the service.
The regular Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service by Etihad is still scheduled to commence from 1 June 2016, arriving in Perth on 2 June 2016.
Perth Airport now has five different Boeing 787 operators: Air New Zealand (787-9), China Southern (787-8), Etihad (787-9), Scoot (787-9) and Thai (787-8).