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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

First Look Inside Etihad Airways’ New Airbus A350

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After taking delivery of the long-haul plane and immediately placing it into long-term storage as the debt-laden airline pared back its route network and began a difficult downsizing process more than two years ago, Etihad Airways is finally ready to reveal its new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

However, Etihad finally transported three of its A350s from France to Abu Dhabi a few months ago so that the interiors could be decked out with new cabins, including a fresh new Business Class suite that has yet to be seen.

The new Business Class seat has been hailed as “absolutely wonderful” by Tony Douglas, CEO of Etihad Airways Group, and as a “Business Plus” offering that will allow the A350 to fly without a pricey First Class cabin at the pointy end of the plane.

Etihad is exhibiting its second A350-1000 at the Dubai Air Show this week, and while the airline has yet to display the inside, the first images of the Business Class cabin have been released.

Etihad has chosen a modified version of the very popular Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat over its Business Studio seat, which is found on the airline’s Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 aircraft.

A number of airlines have chosen the seat, ranging from American Airlines to Qatar Airways, and British Airways unveiled a next-generation version of the seat in March 2019 that incorporates a sliding privacy door.

Etihad has picked the seat’s suite version with a sliding door and added trademark Etihad touches like a customized reading lamp and a marble-effect sideboard.

When showing off the new suites to industry insiders, Douglas stated that Etihad had discovered a “sweet spot” in the Super Diamond suite that was a potential “alternative” to offering a separate First Class cabin.

In addition to rejecting a distinct First Class cabin, Etihad has elected to put two massive Economy cabins on its A350s, despite the popularity of Premium Economy. Several rows near the front of the first Economy cabin, however, will provide a few more inches of legroom for a price.

Etihad is planning to begin flying the aircraft next year, although no routes have been confirmed. In the coming hours, the airline is anticipated to release official images.

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