x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Etihad unveils first aircraft in new Airbus fleet of five

The seats are upholstered with Ferrari leather, the seat belts have built-in airbags and the wood panelling has a cross-hatch design that echoes the Arab style.

ABU DHABI // The seats are upholstered with Ferrari leather, the seat belts have built-in airbags and the wood panelling has a cross-hatch design that echoes the Arab style. Etihad Airways took delivery yesterday of the latest addition to its fleet: the first of five new A330-300 aircraft, which included what the airline described as an unparalleled level of style and luxury in all three travel classes.

The other planes will be delivered over the next 12 months. Fittings and furniture are sand- and brown-coloured throughout the aircraft, and first-class travellers can enjoy extra privacy behind wooden screens. Etihad staff said the plane boasts the second-largest washroom on board a commercial aircraft, beaten only by the A380. Hareb al Muhairy, the vice president of corporate communications, said seat space across all sections of the plane had been increased by 2.5cm.

The first-class suites of two A340-600 aircraft were upgraded to meet the new specifications earlier this year, and nine A340s are due to be upgraded in a similar way within 12 months. The new plane will undergo preflight preparations and take its maiden commercial voyage to London in January. It can carry 12 passengers in first class, 40 in business class and 151 people in economy. @Email:chamilton@thenational.ae