A state-of-the-art Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner touched down in Shanghai last week 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 percent capacity increase on the route.
“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”, Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said.
Shanghai is the seventh destination in the world to be served by Etihad Airways’ B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with the aircraft also deployed to Perth, Brisbane, Singapore, Washington DC, Zurich and Düsseldorf.
“The new Boeing 787 services will help to support the increasing demand for outbound tourism from Shanghai and its surrounding cities in Eastern China”, Baumgartner said, adding that 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.
According to Etihad, the Dreamliner will assist its growing reputation amongst the business community in China, with the aircraft specifically catering to the long-haul business market.
Etihad Airways first launched a five-times-a-week two-class Airbus A330-200 services to Shanghai in March 2012. With a further 62 Boeing 787 Dreamliners scheduled for delivery over the next few years, the aircraft will become the mainstay of Etihad Airways’ long-haul fleet.