Etihad Airways has unveiled a major economy class transformation program starting with the cabin upgrade and refurbishment of 23 narrow-body Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.
The retrofit program, which includes replacing seatback monitors with personalised wireless streaming entertainment to smartphone and tablet devices, is scheduled for completion in August this year.
Etihad is progressively upgrading the economy cabins of its narrow-body fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. These are used mainly on short-haul regional services, and further afield to 38 Etihad gateways within five hours of flight from Abu Dhabi. The airline is installing modern and refreshed cabins featuring ergonomic Extra-spatial Design seats by UK based Acro. The next-generation seats, which will maintain comfortable ‘living space’ in the seat area, and provide increased knee room, are cleverly designed around the guest’s digital devices with fast-charging USB points and an adjustable phone and tablet holder.
The airline is also introducing a new and improved economy class dining concept on all its flights as part of a wider program of enhancements to its inflight catering. On journeys of over three hours, the main course of the core complimentary dining service is now a larger, contemporary bistro-style meal which is higher in quality, with a focus on fresh seasonal ingredients and more destination-focused choices. A new curved triangular base plate design reflects the heritage of Abu Dhabi and is made using recycled materials. New cutlery is 85 per cent lighter, reducing aircraft weight and fuel burn.
Each year, the airline will also remove 27 million plastic lids, and other containers, supporting its drive towards greater sustainability and to reduce the use of single-use plastics by 80 per cent by 2022.
As part of the new dining sequence, delicious dessert items will be served separately with the after-meal coffee and tea service, reducing clutter on the tray during the main meal. On shorter flights, dessert will be served with the main meal.
In addition, the significantly expanded ‘Sweet or Salty’ retail menu complements the core dining service with offerings including a tapas box, hot dishes, and premium sweet and savory snacks, all available for purchase. The selection also includes exciting options for children. The new retail service will be enhanced by partnerships with leading brands such as Bateel, Starbucks, chocolatiers Thorntons, Cawston Press, Heavenly, Perrier, and Barebells.
Etihad is also refreshing soft products including new blankets, pillows and headrest covers to further enhance inflight comfort and ambiance.
“Etihad has always been a challenger brand, shaping the future of travel as the market constantly changes,” says Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group. “We are bringing the leadership and innovation to Economy travel which we have long-established in our award-winning Business, First and The Residence cabins.”
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