Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Airways today unveiled its new Airbus A350-1000, registration A6-XWB, on a special inaugural commercial flight from Abu Dhabi to Paris. The aircraft is the first A350 to be operated by a UAE airline, and the first of five A350s set to join Etihad’s fleet over the coming months.
The first flight departed Abu Dhabi for Paris Charles de Gaulle at 7.30am with a delegation including diplomatic dignitaries, Etihad and Airbus representatives, media, trade partners and other VIPs.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The Airbus A350 is an absolutely incredible aircraft, and we are proud to introduce it into the Etihad Airways network today. Our teams have worked closely together to craft a product and travel proposition that will ensure every journey with Etihad is a choice well made – both for our guests and for the planet. With highly efficient fuel consumption and CO2 savings, the A350 will support our goals to reduce carbon emissions and deliver an unmatched flight experience for our guests.”
Mikail Houari, President, Airbus Africa and Middle East, commented: “Etihad Airways has been a long-standing partner of Airbus in the UAE and we are excited to continue our collaboration. The A350-1000 is setting new standards of air travel, offering unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. This marks the start of a promising new chapter for the UAE’s aviation sector, led by innovation and a commitment to sustainability. We look forward to many more years of partnership and working together to support Etihad Airways expand its network through our most technologically advanced and efficient aircraft.”
The aircraft, named Sustainability50, carries a unique livery in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the federation of the UAE and Etihad's commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It will join the airline's industry-leading sustainability drive as part of a programme aimed at decarbonising aviation.
Formed as a partnership between Etihad, Airbus and Rolls Royce in 2021, the Sustainability50 programme will see Etihad's A350s used as flying testbeds of new initiatives, procedures and technologies to reduce carbon emissions, building on the learnings derived from Etihad's similar Greenliner programme for the Boeing B787 aircraft type.
The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered Airbus A350 is one of the most efficient aircraft types in the world, with 25% less fuel burn and CO2 emissions than previous-generation twin aisle aircraft.
Etihad recently established a formal framework with Airbus to collaborate on sustainability across a number of areas including the promotion and commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel, waste and weight management, and the development of data-driven analysis.
“We designed our sustainability programme as a vehicle for collaboration, and our strategic partnership with Airbus allows us to harness the sustainability credentials of the A350 through the Sustainability50 programme, as we work towards our joint objectives to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment,” said Douglas.
The airline’s new A350-1000s will be deployed on a number of short to mid-range routes in Q2, including Mumbai and Delhi, before being introduced on ultra-long-haul operations to Chicago and New York from July.
The aircraft features Etihad’s newest cabin interior which is inspired by Abu Dhabi and is both more efficient and sustainable in design. Etihad is renowned for high-quality aircraft, and the A350 is filled with thoughtful design details providing exceptional comfort and enhanced privacy.
Etihad’s signature lighting design is inspired by the shadows cast by Abu Dhabi’s palm trees. The cabin lighting emulates natural ambient light and is designed to enhance the guest experience, provide an optimum environment for sleeping and reduce the effects of jetlag. The Airbus A350 also offers the quietest cabin experience for a wide-body aircraft.
Another feature to help reduce light pollution, and therefore jetlag, is the new dark-mode interface on the E-BOX inflight entertainment system. Mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity is also available throughout the aircraft.
Etihad’s ‘Little VIP’ younger guests will enjoy the newly launched Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi themed family-friendly flying experience and a special feature on this aircraft is the new interactive flight map feature which means children can explore the maps with the help of some Jurassic-age friends.
The elevated Business class is home to 44 Business Studios with sliding doors that provide a high level of privacy to each suite. Every seat faces forward with direct aisle access. The Business class seat, with a width of over 20”, converts into a fully-flat bed of 79” in length, and features ample storage for convenience.
Noise-cancelling headphones and an 18.5” TV screen provide a cinematic experience to enjoy Etihad’s extensive inflight entertainment offering. The Business seats cleverly feature a built-in wireless charging dock and Bluetooth headphone pairing.
Business class guests can choose from a carefully curated à la carte menu, and guests on longer flights can enjoy Etihad’s signature ‘dine anytime’ service.
Etihad’s spacious Economy cabin is configured with 327 smart seats in a 3-3-3 arrangement, of which 45 ‘Economy Space’ seats have been enhanced with an additional 4 inches of legroom. The Crystal Cabin Award-winning seats were selected after extensive customer trials by Etihad and based on their comfort and sustainability credentials. The seats feature Etihad’s signature supportive headrest, USB charging and Bluetooth headphone pairing, as well as a 13.3” inch screen to enjoy Etihad’s award-winning inflight entertainment system.
Guests receive blankets and pillows for additional comfort and amenity kits on longer flights, as well as enjoying complimentary dining and beverages served by Etihad’s award-winning cabin crew.