A state-of-the-art Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner touched down in Shanghai today from Abu Dhabi on its first flight into China. The new Dreamliner features the airline’s next-generation business and economy class cabins, and will operate with 299 seats, 28 in Business class and 271 in economy, representing a 14 per cent capacity increase on the route.
Flight EY862 from Abu Dhabi departed at 10.25pm yesterday from the Middle East arriving in Shanghai at 11.10am today. The inaugural flight from Shanghai (EY867) will depart again on 3 August at 00.30am, arriving back in Abu Dhabi at 6.15am the same day. To mark the event, guests were presented with commemorative certificates in Chinese and English, featuring Shanghai’s iconic landmark, the Oriental Pearl Tower.
Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Since launching flights between Shanghai and Abu Dhabi four years ago, we have experienced first-hand the huge growth of China’s outbound tourism market and enjoyed strong demand from both business and leisure travellers.”
“The decision to upgrade to the Boeing 787 reflects the importance of Shanghai and China to the airline. Shanghai is a modern metropolis and a global economic, financial, trading and shipping centre, which underlines its importance within Etihad Airways’ global network and supports the introduction of the new aircraft.”
Mr. Baumgartner continued: “The new Boeing 787 services will help to support the increasing demand for outbound tourism from Shanghai and its surrounding cities in Eastern China. The additional capacity will enable more Chinese business and leisure travellers to enjoy seamless one-stop connections over the Abu Dhabi hub to over 40 destinations across the Gulf region, Europe, Africa and South America.”
China has recently surpassed the USA as the biggest business travel market in the world, according to the Global Business Travel Association, representing US$291.2 billion spending on business travel in 2015. The Dreamliner will assist Etihad Airways’ growing reputation amongst the business community in China, with the aircraft specifically catering to the long-haul business market.