Dubai 09: Etihad makes broad $750 million investment

Dubai
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Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways announced a major $750 million investment package as the carrier celebrates its sixth anniversary.

The major investment covers the areas of workforce, fleet, in-flight service, as well as its planning and resourcing systems.

While the specifics of the investments were not detailed, Etihad chief executive James Hogan announced a seven-point improvement plan across the whole of the airline as the show progresses.

First, Etihad has signed a contract with Panasonic to feature the eX2 in-flight entertainment system on the airline's new Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777 widebodies scheduled for delivery from December 2009 and 2011, respectively.

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 © Billypix

Second, the airline signed a $200 million contract with International Aero Engines to provide overhaul and repair service for 14 Airbus narrowbodies now in Etihad's fleet.

Third, Lufthansa Technik was selected to install new first-class suites on nine of Etihad's A340s. The airline is expected to announce today that its first-class cabins will feature B/E Aerospace first-class suites.

Fourth, Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies will upgrade the airline's 777 and Airbus A320 fleets, which will involve replacing and reconfiguring economy-class seating. Etihad's 777s will feature 10-abreast seating, up previously from nine abreast. Etihad is expected to announce today that it has selected the Thales' i5000 IFE system on its existing 777 and A320 fleets.

Fifth, Etihad will invest $250 million with SR Technics to provide easy access to more than 300 aircraft components at the airline's Abu Dhabi hub and key outstations.

Sixth, Lufthansa Systems will introduce a new flight-planning system, enabling the airline to reduce its fuel costs by up to 5%, cutting emissions and benefiting from a more efficient flight planning process.

Finally, Kronos will automate and optimise planning and management processes for Etihad's 4,000 cabin and flight crew.