Etihad Airways is to deploy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on one of its twice-daily scheduled flights between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, with effect from 30 October 2016.
The upgrade from a single aisle Airbus A321 aircraft will cater to strong demand to and from the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, offering guests more seats on a wide-body aircraft. Together with the other daily Riyadh service operated by a Boeing 777, Etihad Airways will have more than 8,700 weekly seats on the route.
Flight EY317 will be operated with a B787, departing Abu Dhabi at 10:15 hrs, arriving into Riyadh at 11:15 hrs. The return flight EY318 departs Riyadh at 16:25 hrs, arriving into Abu Dhabi at 19:10 hrs. The flights will provide optimal timings for guests in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, and convenient connections to and from destinations across key markets in Europe, Indian subcontinent, Asia and Australia.
The 299-seat aircraft, configured in two classes, offers award-winning cabin interiors with 28 seats in Business and 271 in Economy.
Guests will be able to experience the airline’s renowned Business Studio on board. The seat, which provides guests with direct aisle access, is also equipped with an in-seat massage and air cushion control system. Business Class guests using the service can choose from three main courses, with further dine-on-demand options available. There are also specialised services onboard, including a Food & Beverage Manager in the premium cabin, multi-national cabin crew and Flying Nannies, who are able to provide support to parents travelling with young children.
For B787 Economy Class passengers, the airline’s commitment to providing the best guest experiences is showcased by its ‘Smart Seats’. They have been designed to provide additional comfort through simple design features such as a ‘fixed wing’ headrest, extra seat width and individual TV monitors. Etihad Airways currently operates the latest Panasonic eX3 IFE equipment for its B787 inflight entertainment system. Mobile connectivity with access to onboard Wi-Fi and seven satellite channels of live TV are also available.
Kevin Knight, Etihad Airways Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, said: “The Boeing 787 is playing a key role in Etihad Airways’ fleet expansion with routes carefully selected on which to deploy this unique aircraft. We are delighted that Riyadh will soon join our 787 cities giving guests a different experience to and from Abu Dhabi, and with convenient connections to destinations across our diverse worldwide network.
“The aircraft also provides significantly more cargo capacity to facilitate the movement of a greater number of goods to and from the Saudi capital. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a very important market for Etihad Airways, supporting our global expansion since the launch of services 13 years ago. Our commitment to the Saudi market has grown since we began flying to Riyadh in 2004, steadily increasing our presence to the current 63 flights each week to and from four Saudi cities.”
On the Riyadh route alone, Etihad Airways has flown more than 2.5 million guests since 2004.
Etihad Airways’ flights to Riyadh, Jeddah, Madinah and Dammam are complemented by Saudi codeshare partner flynas, whose dedicated services between Abu Dhabi and both Riyadh and Jeddah provide travellers with even more choice.
Riyadh becomes Etihad Airways’ newest B787 destination this year following the induction of the aircraft on flights to Perth, Dusseldorf and Shanghai, with Abu Dhabi – Johannesburg set to become a Dreamliner route on 1 November. Etihad Airways’ current fleet of nine B787s also operates to Singapore, Washington DC, Brisbane and Zurich.