Today the CEO of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, in Abu Dhabi flew in Juergen T. Steinmetz from eTN and more than 120 other journalists from around the world to reveal a new beginning of ultra-luxury air travel and new standards of inventions different from what is currently available anywhere in the airline industry. Journalists attending the event at the Fairmont Hotel in Abu Dhabi were given a tour to the normally-secret invention and training facility of Etihad. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has unveiled the new product and service offering on its Airbus A380 and Boeing B787 Dreamliner aircraft, including The Residence by Etihad™, the world’s most luxurious living space in the air, available only on the airline’s A380 aircraft.
The Residence will be the breathtaking and completely new forward upper-deck cabin on the A380. Accommodating single or double occupancy, it features a living room, separate double bedroom and ensuite shower room. Guests in The Residence will also have a personal butler.
With the launch of these new fleets, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will also redefine and rename its cabin classes.
The A380 will feature the revolutionary First Apartments, which are fully private suites with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed, as well as a chilled mini-bar, personal vanity unit, and wardrobe.
Etihad Airways has allocated the upper deck of the A380 to its premium cabins.
On the B787, Etihad Airways has designed an enhanced First Suite, adding many new features including a chilled mini-bar.
The Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat will feature on both the A380 and the B787.
Etihad Airways is introducing the latest Panasonic eX3 entertainment system across both fleets, providing more than 750 hours of on-demand entertainment, improved gaming, and high-definition screens across all cabins.
The system has video touchscreen handsets, offering an additional screen for guests to maximize their entertainment, so they can play games or view the moving map while watching a movie.
Noise-cancelling headsets are provided across all cabins, with built-in magnetic audio jacks to ensure the best sound quality.
The A380 aircraft will have full mobile and Wi-Fi service while the B787 will be equipped with Wi-Fi.
Unveiled at a global media launch in Abu Dhabi today, Sunday, May 4, the new cabins and service offering follow the airline’s pledge to transform air travel and make every guest journey a remarkable one.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “These new living spaces will raise inflight product and service standards to their highest level yet in commercial aviation and alter air travelers’ expectations of inflight comfort and luxury forever.
“Etihad Airways’ A380 and B787 will deliver the most advanced airline cabins in the industry, while meeting all weight, range, and cost targets at our desired seat count. This will allow us to offer products unparalleled in quality and style, yet at competitive prices across all three cabins.”
In 2008, recognizing that no single design agency could deliver its vision for the new cabins, Etihad Airways established the Etihad Design Consortium (EDC) which brought together three leading design companies – Acumen, Factorydesign and Honour Branding – to develop innovative cabin and seat designs for the new fleets.
The EDC collaborated with Promise Communispace, a leading co-creation agency, to launch comprehensive consumer research and workshops in Abu Dhabi, Sydney, London, and New York, with the goal of understanding what makes a “perfect flight” and asking consumers to help design the perfect airline.
Eighty percent of the new product offering is a direct result of the feedback and information garnered from these workshops.
Etihad Airways’ design vision was to bring the individuality and exclusivity of a luxury boutique hotel experience to the sky in a way that embraced Arabian Modernism, an aesthetic that combines the traditions of the region with contemporary design.
The Residence by Etihad™
The Residence, which is certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for single or double occupancy, offers levels of luxury and total privacy normally found only on private jets.
Each Etihad Airways A380 will offer a boutique version of The Residence with different color palettes, table marquetry, and custom carpets.
Guests in The Residence will have the services of a personal butler throughout their flight. These fully-trained service professionals will receive specialist training at the Savoy Butler Academy in London.
Guests in The Residence will also have a dedicated VIP Travel Concierge team who will ensure every detail of their travel experience, including ground transport, cuisine, and amenities, are tailored to their requirements.
Etihad Airways will redefine First Class and set a remarkable new industry standard with the launch of the First Apartment on the A380.
Nine First Apartments will be installed on the upper deck in a 1-1 configuration creating the only single-aisle, First Class cabin in the industry.
Each First Apartment, which has a 64-inch-high sliding door, includes a reclining armchair and a full-length ottoman, both upholstered by Poltrona Frau. The ottoman transforms into a separate 80-inch-long full flatbed.
The First Apartment, which also includes unique features such as a chilled mini-bar, a personal vanity unit, and a swiveling TV monitor for viewing from either the seat or the bed, has a 74 percent larger footprint than the airline’s current award-winning First Class Suites.
A fully equipped shower room is available on the A380 for exclusive use by First Class guests.
On the B787, Etihad Airways has designed an enhanced First Suite with many new features. The eight First Suites in a 1-2-1 configuration along a unique curved aisle, are another first in commercial aviation.
Each completely private First Suite has a large seat and ottoman, both upholstered by Poltrona Frau, which converts into an 80.5-inch-long full-flat bed.
On the center seats, the armrests retract and the suites can be joined to create a “double” bed. Other features include a chilled mini-bar and a 24-inch TV monitor.
On both the A380 and the B787, Etihad Airways will launch its new Business Studios which provide 20 percent more personal space than the airline’s current business class seat.
Configured 1-2-1 in a forward and aft “dovetail,” the Business Studios all have aisle access and the seat converts into a full flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long.
With its privacy, ample storage and surface space, the Business Studio has been designed with the diverse needs of the premium business or leisure traveler firmly in mind.
On the Airbus A380, First and Business Class guests will be able to relax in The Lobby which is a serviced lounge and bar area located between the First and Business cabins.
Providing a semi-circular leather sofa, a marquetry table, and a large TV screen, The Lobby is designed for relaxing and socializing.
The TV has a USB connection so it can be used for sharing content or it can also be set to the airline’s Live TV channels for sporting and other events.
Economy Smart Seat
A new Economy Smart Seat will offer a unique ergonomic fixed-wing headrest, giving guests a place to rest their head for added comfort and relaxation.
The seat also has a lumbar support feature, allowing guests to adjust their seat comfort, and an 11-inch personal monitor screen, with all the IFE peripherals conveniently set into the seatback in front.
The latest Panasonic eX3 personal entertainment system, of which Etihad Airways is a launch customer, is installed across all cabins.
A key design objective for Etihad Airways was to transform the boarding experience making it more akin to stepping into the lobby of a boutique hotel.
In all entry-ways in both aircraft and in all cabins, the galley equipment is concealed behind custom Arabic fretwork screens and blinds, while the trolleys are covered by elegant wood-finish doors, setting a stylish and welcoming environment for all guests.
Importantly for the airline’s Muslim guests, Etihad Airways has developed prayer areas which can be curtained off for privacy and are equipped with a real-time electronic Qibla-finder showing the exact direction of Mecca, based on the aircraft’s geographical position.
In the premium class boarding areas, Etihad Airways will collaborate with cultural institutions in the UAE to exhibit artwork and artefacts in display cabinets installed throughout. Items from the Etihad Airways Boutique Duty Free catalogue will also be displayed.
With the launch of these new aircraft, Etihad Airways will update its dining equipment, amenities, and soft furnishings across its entire fleet.