Etihad Airways to update planes used for U.S. flights

Etihad Airways to update planes used for U.S. flights.
Etihad Airways to update planes used for U.S. flights. |
Etihad Airways announced plans Wednesday to update the equipment it uses on U.S. flights over the course of the year.

The company will change aircraft for several routes beginning April 25 when it swaps the leased Boeing 777-300ER planes used on its daily route between San Francisco and Abu Dhabi for Etihad Airways Boeing 777-200LRs. The new planes will seat 239 passengers in first class, business and economy cabins.

By June 1, the company will swap leased Boeing 777-300ER planes for company-owned models on one of two daily round trips between New York City and Abu Dhabi. The new version will seat 328 passengers between first class, business and economy cabins.

The second daily service on that route will stay the same.

The new planes are a small fraction of the 200 new aircraft Etihad has on order, which will nearly double the size of its current fleet. Airline officials said the move from leased planes to official Etihad aircraft represents the company's growth.

"With the growth of the Etihad fleet, we will be pleased to soon fly these important U.S. services in our own colors, continuing to provide the very finest service in the sky to our guests," Etihad Airways Chief Strategy and Planning Officer Kevin Knight said.

The company will continue services for passengers traveling between the U.S. and UAE -- including its pre-clearance program that lets passengers clear U.S. customs before leaving Abu Dhabi -- and special airport lounges for first class and business passengers.

Etihad Airways is the second largest airline in the United Arab Emirates. Created by royal decree in 2003, the company carried nearly 15 million passengers in 2014 on a fleet of 120 aircraft.

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