The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) flag carrier Etihad will start flying a wifi-enabled B777-300ER between Abu Dhabi and New York starting June 1.
The aircraft will feature eight Diamond first class, 40 Pearl business class and 280 Coral economy class seats – a 36.6 per cent capacity increase over the 240-seat A340-500 previously used. The daily flight was launched in October 2006.
The change is also in line with the airline’s plan to have all aircraft in its fleet wifi-enabled by the end of 2014 (see story). The service is complimentary for first class passengers, while others will have to pay to use it. Mobile charges are based on the international roaming rates of guests’ mobile network providers.
Etihad codeshares with American Airlines on routes between the UAE and the US.
James Hogan, Etihad president and chief executive, said: “New York was our first point of entry into America and we have seen it continue to grow year-on-year, strengthened by our relationship with American Airlines. Beyond our direct daily services to New York, Chicago and recently-launched Washington DC, our partnership with American Airlines allows us to codeshare and connect our guests to more than 65 cities across the US.
“The point-to-point premium traffic between New York and Abu Dhabi has been particularly strong, representing increasing commercial and trade ties between the USA and UAE.”
Hogan also points out that an increasing number of travellers are using Abu Dhabi as the transit hub to connect to India, where the airline has direct services to nine destinations, more than in any other single market.
He said: “With our recent acquisition of a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways of India, we will certainly be growing our presence in the region to meet the increasing demand for travel to and from the Indian Subcontinent.”
For more on the airline’s latest investment in Jet Airways, click here.
The airline operates 14 B777-300ERs and will take delivery of a further four this year.