Abu Dhabi airline Etihad Airways has introduced a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Shanghai route to meet growing demand.
The Dreamliner will operate with 299 seats including 28 in business class and 271 in economy, representing a 14 per cent capacity increase on the route, a statement said.
The inaugural flight EY862 from Abu Dhabi departed at 10.25pm on Monday, August 2 and arrived in Shanghai at 11.10am on Tuesday.
The return flight from Shanghai (EY867) will depart on Wednesday, August 3 at 00.30am, arriving back in Abu Dhabi at 6.15am the same day.
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.”
Etihad first launched five-times-weekly services to Shanghai in March 2012, with a two-class Airbus A330-200 operating the route.
“The new Boeing 787 services will help to support the increasing demand for outbound tourism from Shanghai and its surrounding cities in Eastern China,” said Baumgartner.
“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.”
Shanghai is the seventh destination in the world to be served by Etihad’s B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
Currently, the aircraft is also deployed to Perth, Brisbane, Singapore, Washington DC, Zurich and Düsseldorf.
The airline has a further 62 Boeing 787 Dreamliners scheduled for delivery over the next few years.