2 June 2016 © David Eyre
Etihad Airways officially introduced the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Abu Dhabi – Perth services, replacing the Airbus A330-200s previously used.
Etihad’s newest Boeing 787 in the fleet, A6-BLG had the honour of operating today’s flight. A6-BLG was first flown on 8 May 2016 and was only delivered during 26-27 May 2016, a few days before today’s flight, operating its first service on 30 May 2016 from Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf and return.
Today’s flight EY486 took off from Abu Dhabi at 11.28pm on 1 June 2016 (Abu Dhabi time). Whilst the departure was late, the aircraft made up time en route, and after a flight time of 9 hours 53 minutes, landed on Perth Airport’s runway 06 at 1:22pm Perth time.
As it taxied in, it was welcomed by a water cannon salute from airport fire crews, before parking at Bay 150 (Gate 50) at Perth’s new Terminal 1 International/Domestic pier.
The return flight EY487 departed on time at 5pm, taking off from runway 03 at 5:16pm, and after a flight of 10 hours 26 minutes, arrived at Abu Dhabi at 11:42pm (Abu Dhabi time).
The visit follows Etihad’s first (unplanned) visit to Perth by a Boeing 787-9 on 30 May 2016, when A6-BLF replaced an A330 which had a technical issue on that day’s EY486/EY487 service.The final Etihad A330-200 service to Perth, operated by A6-EYI, arrived on 1 June 2016.
Perth services are operated by Boeing 787s in two-class configuration, with 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats. The 299 seats provide 14 per cent more capacity than the Airbus A330-200 it replaces, adding an extra 518 seats per week to the Perth services.
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.
Perth is the second Australian city to be served by Etihad Airways’ B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft; Brisbane was the first in June 2015. Etihad’s Dreamliner is also used on services to Singapore, Washington DC, Zurich and Düsseldorf. Services will commence to Istanbul, Johannesburg and Shanghai during 2016.
Etihad has six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in service and another 64 on order.
Etihad Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing, Shane O’Hare, said the decision to upgrade to the Dreamliner reflected the importance of Western Australia to Etihad Airways.
“Since launching flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi two years ago we have enjoyed strong two-way demand from business and leisure travellers on the route.
“Our Dreamliners, with ground-breaking innovations in all cabins, have raised the passenger experience bar, setting the benchmark in world aviation for superior comfort, entertainment, inflight connectivity, and service.”
“The additional weekly seats to Perth will bolster Etihad Airways’ existing support for Western Australia’s tourism industry by bringing more international visitors from across our global network to experience the delights of a Western Australian holiday.”
Etihad has a number of partner airlines, including Virgin Australia, and this enables it to offer the convenience of one-stop services to Perth from Europe, the Middle East and east coast USA, via their Abu Dhabi hub.
Features of Etihad’s Dreamliner
The Dreamliner features the largest windows; air that is cleaner, more humid and at a higher pressure for better comfort; large overhead stowage bins, soothing LED lighting; and technology to sense and counter turbulence for a smoother ride.
The onboard décor and lighting have been inspired by contemporary modern Arabian design.
The 28 Business Studios all offer direct aisle access, a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long, and an increase of 20 per cent in personal space. Upholstered in the finest Poltrona Frau leather, the Business Studio is equipped with an in-seat massage and pneumatic cushion control system which enables guests to adjust the firmness and comfort of their seat. Each Business Studio has an 18-inch personal touch-screen TV with noise-cancelling headsets. Food and Beverage Managers, handpicked from the world’s top hotels and restaurants, guide guests in Business Class through the extensive a la carte and dine anytime options and provide recommendations on the optimal food and wine pairing.
The 271 Economy Smart Seats provide enhanced comfort with a unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest on each seat, adjustable lumbar support, a seat width of approximately 19 inches, and an 11.1” personal TV monitor. The airline also offers ‘Flying Nannies’, to assist families travelling with children.
The Dreamliner fleet features the latest Panasonic eX3 entertainment system which provides more than 750 hours of on-demand entertainment including seven live TV channels, improved gaming and high definition screens across all cabins. The aircraft has full mobile and Wi-Fi service, with USB and power points at every seat.
Flight schedule for Abu Dhabi-Perth:
|EY486||Abu Dhabi (AUH)||22:30||Perth (PER)||13:50 next day||Daily|
|EY487||Perth (PER)||17:00||Abu Dhabi (AUH)||00:25 next day||Daily|