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05 May 2013 14:30

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will bring greater capacity to its daily flights between Abu Dhabi and New York with a Wi-Fi-enabled Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on the route from June 1, 2013. 

The three-class aircraft will offer a total 328 seats, representing a 36.6 per cent increase in capacity compared with the Airbus A340-500 currently used on the route. The aircraft will be configured with eight Diamond First class, 40 Pearl Business class and 280 Coral Economy class seats.

Since launching flights between New York and Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, in October 2006, Etihad Airways has flown more than 800,000 passengers on the route, including a record 155,000 passengers in 2012 alone.

The aircraft change also makes it possible for the airline to offer “Etihad Wi-Fly” inflight connectivity on every flight to and from New York.

Internet connectivity is offered to guests at a nominal cost for Coral Economy and Pearl Business Class guests and on a complimentary basis for Etihad Airways’ Diamond First Class guests. Mobile telephone usage will be charged based on the international roaming rates of guests’ mobile network providers.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are responding to passenger demand by continuously investing in our fleet and upgrading routes where we see a need for more capacity. The change to the Boeing-777 aircraft, the largest three-class aircraft in our fleet, on the New York route is a demonstration of our commitment to expand our services in the US.

“New York was our first point of entry into America and we have seen it continue to grow year-on-year, strengthened by our relationship with American Airlines. Beyond our direct daily services to New York, Chicago and recently-launched Washington, D.C., our partnership with American Airlines allows us to codeshare and connect our guests to more than 65 cities across the US.

“The point-to-point premium traffic between New York and Abu Dhabi has been particularly strong, representing increasing commercial and trade ties between the USA and UAE.

“The success of the route has also been bolstered by our ongoing expansion in connecting markets. Many of our guests are traveling over Abu Dhabi, onwards to destinations across the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Asia, regions in which our capacity is also growing.

“India, for example, has become our largest single market in terms of destinations, with direct services to nine cities. With our recent acquisition of a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways of India, we will certainly be growing our presence in the region to meet the increasing demand for travel to and from the Indian Subcontinent.”

The airline currently operates 14 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft across its network and will take delivery of a further four this year, enabling the aircraft change on the New York route.

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