Today is the day, finally. Etihad’s A350 took to the skies with passengers for the first time, bringing us closer to the long-running saga of these delivered but not operated wide-body aircraft.
The Etihad A350 aircraft began shipping in 2019, but instead of heading to its hub in Abu Dhabi, these brand new aircraft flew directly to the warehouse in Bordeaux. One by one, another A350 joined the fleet, eventually reaching a total of five in stock.
However, Etihad remained committed to the A350-1000 as part of his long-term fleet plans. Following the decision to push the A380 and 777-300ER out of the mix, its “backbone” fleet of all Dreamliners will be well complemented by these new Airbus technologies and their excellent operational efficiency.
The A350 has a special version ‘UAE 50’. Photo: Joanna Bailey | Easy flying
Etihad debuted the A350 at the Dubai Air Show last year, flying in the A6-XWB, a 2.8-year widebody. This particular aircraft has a special color “year 50.” and it is this aircraft that took off in Paris this morning, which means the official launch of the A350-1000 aircraft for Etihad Airways.
The A350 took off from Abu Dhabi just before 08:00 under flight number EY37. In preparation for today’s service, the A350 undertook a test flight from Abu Dhabi to Abu Dhabi last week on March 25, which lasted approximately 50 minutes. Today, for the first time, he can try his wings with passengers on board.
The journey to Paris takes approximately six hours and 50 minutes. Journalists from a wide range of media as well as airline CEO Tony Douglas were on board. Ade Ali, CEO of Air Arabia, and Terry Director of Passenger Experience also spoke
What’s on board the A350?
The interior escaped during the Dubai Airshow, but the approach to the bowels of this all-new widescreen body really highlighted the incredible lengths Etihad went to create something very special on board.
The hard product in a business class cabin is excellent. Photo: Joanna Bailey | Easy flying
For Etihad, the A350 represents the introduction of a completely new business-class product. The seats, or we might say suites, are spacious, modern and tasteful, with full doors for maximum privacy. It’s the same tough product as the new British Airways Club Suite, but with Etihad’s own look at colors, materials and finishes.
Etihad’s touch is ubiquitous in an amazing business-class product. Photo: Joanna Bailey | Easy flying
Like the other cabins in the business class, the suite brings colors to life. Gold and brown are presented in luxurious leather, shiny metal and wood veneer.
A large IFE screen is located above the multifunction table. Wireless charging is available on the side shelf. Photo: Joanna Bailey | Easy flying
Etihad has maximized storage options with cubes and cabinets, and the tray table can be used in a variety of positions for comfortable work, rest and eating. A complete inspection of the seat follows.
The absence of central upper baskets gives the cabin a level of wealth almost similar to the cathedral. Photo: Joanna Bailey | Easy flying
It’s not just the business class where the improvements have taken place. Back in the economy, the seats have adjustable headrests with wings to support and double folding tables for comfort and flexibility.
Adjustable headrests with wing supports form an improved product of economy class. Photo: Joanna Bailey | Easy flying
The screens are some of the largest we’ve seen in the economy and feature Bluetooth connectivity that allows passengers to use their own headphones on board.
Oversized screens are some of the largest we’ve seen in an economy booth. Photo: Joanna Bailey | Easy flying
Etihad has so far taken over the five A350s. Four are expected to enter service this year, initially to destinations within hours of Abu Dhabi to get to know the crew, but eventually to service long distances such as the US and Australia.
Stay tuned to Simple Flying, where you will soon learn more details about Etihad’s A350.
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