Etihad Airways’ first Boeing 787 Dreamliner took off to Dusseldforf on Sunday.
The B787-9 departed Abu Dhabi at 0215 as flight EY23 for the 7-hour 25-minute flight to Düsseldorf, arriving 0640 local time. The return service departs at 1020 with a scheduled arrival time of 1950 in Abu Dhabi.
Special gift packs were handed to guests on the inaugural flight, including luggage tags, passport holders and commemorative B787 certificates. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the departure gate to mark the occasion.
The wide-body Boeing 787-9 is a stretched version of the advanced medium to long-range twin engine B787-8, with a range of up to 8,300 nautical miles. The lightweight composite materials means it uses up to 30 per cent less fuel than other aircraft in its category.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways president and CEO, said the introduction of the Dreamliner will provide it with a “clear reduction in operating costs and carbon emissions, at maximum reliability and efficiency”.
Etihad’s new B787 contains eight First Suites, 28 Business Studios and 199 Economy Smart seats. On-board décor and lighting has been inspired by contemporary modern Arabian design, complementing the new ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ design identity recently introduced by the airline.
Abu Dhabi-based FGB and The National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia are funding “a number” of B787-9s.
The airline has 71 B787s (-9 and -10) on order, earmarked for key medium and long-haul routes such as Washington DC, Mumbai, Moscow and Brisbane. The airline will also begin taking delivery of two-class configurations from 2016.