Etihad plans full cabin refresh upon arrival of 787, A380

Washington DC
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Etihad Airways will unveil a cabin interior refresh in late 2014 as it takes delivery of both its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 during the same month.

The new cabin offerings are going to "wow the market", says chief executive James Hogan.

Hogan declines to be more specific about the changes, but he promises that the change interior changes will be extensive and will set a new standard for the market.

"We've got something very special we're going to launch simultaneously" on the A380 and 787-9, he says. "We're actually going to raise the product definition of Etihad."

The UAE flag carrier has 10 A380s and 41 787-9s on order and the first of both are due to be delivered in December 2014, Hogan says. The ongoing grounding of the 787-8 fleet due to battery failures has not altered the delivery schedule to Etihad, he adds.

Etihad's premium offering is now defined by its Diamond First Class product, which includes a lie-flat seat, ottoman and widescreen TV enclosed within a mini-suite with a half-door on rollers.

In January, Boeing said in a regulatory filing that unnamed "operators" had requested a similar configuration for the 787-9, which Etihad is ordering.

The filing highlighted Boeing's request for an exemption from federal safety rules banning any doors being placed between passengers and exit door on take-off and landing.