Etihad joins ten-across club

17 Nov 2009 by BusinessTraveller

Abu Dhabi airline Etihad is set to lose its economy-class comfort advantage over Emirates. It has decided to follow its Dubai rival’s lead and install ten-across seating on its fleet of B777s.

The move, reported by respected industry publication Flight International, was revealed at this week’s Dubai air show.

No details are yet available as to when the conversion from nine to ten-abreast seating will take place but it is being undertaken by local firm Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies. The alterations will also include new seating and an upgrade of these planes’ IFE systems.

Knowledgeable passengers grumble about ten-across seating on the B777 because it is an especially dense layout. That is because the B777 has a slightly narrower cabin than the B747 (which already features a ten-across layout).  

Most major carriers continue to operate their B777s with nine-across layouts although Air France and KLM have also begun installing ten-across configurations.

So far Etihad is not using its B777s on routes between Abu Dhabi and Europe but matters could change in future.

Right now the carrier’s B777s mainly serve Asian destinations like Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta. So Etihad’s comfort advantage over Emirates’ B777s on these routes will disappear at some stage.

Better news from Etihad at the Dubai Show concerns the carrier’s premium product. Etihad says it has decided to extend the fitting of its first class suites to all of its A340s. The work is being understaken by Lufthansa Technik.  

The suites are currently offered on just a few of Etihad’s flagship A340-600s which operate out of Abu Dhabi to Europe and Australia.

Says CEO James Hogan, “Our first class suite is a stunning product that is helping us stand out in the premium travel market. It has been incredibly well-received and we are delighted to be able to roll it out across the A340 fleet so quickly.”

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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