Abu Dhabi’s Etihad to deploy Dreamliner on Beirut route after travel ban lifted

The UAE lifted the travel ban to Lebanon for its citizens earlier this week

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways will deploy its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jet on services to Beirut from October 27 to boost capacity on the route, it announced.

The airline currently operates the Airbus A321 on the daily route.

The move comes after the UAE lifted the travel ban to Lebanon for its citizens earlier this week.

“Lifting this restriction, imposed in February 2016, is expected to spur a significant increase in demand for travel between the two capitals,” Etihad said in a statement.

Flight EY 535 will depart Abu Dhabi at 9.50am daily, arriving in Beirut at 12.30pm, with the return flight EY 538 leaving Beirut at 2pm and arriving back in Abu Dhabi at 7.35pm.

Etihad will operate the upgraded flights with two-class Boeing 787-9s, the newest aircraft type in the airline’s fleet. The jets can accomodate 299 passengers in a mix of 28 business class seats and 271 economy seats. The 787s will also provide a significant increase in cargo capacity.

Robin Kamark, chief commercial officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Lebanon is a critically important market for the UAE and for its national airline, Etihad Airways. When Etihad was launched in November 2003, Beirut was our first very first scheduled destination.

“Following the announcement yesterday that travel restrictions between these markets will be lifted, we moved quickly to increase our capacity to meet an expected increase in passenger and cargo demand, and to allocate our newest aircraft and product to the route.”

The lifting of the travel ban came after a visit by Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri to the UAE.

Emiratis had been banned from visiting Lebanon since the start of the civil war in neighbouring Syria, amid fears the violence could spill-over.

Read: UAE lifts Lebanon travel ban for Emiratis