Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways is to introduce six Airbus A320 aircraft from next month, the first narrowbodies to be brought into the airline’s fleet.

Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, will take the first aircraft on 1 September and two more will be brought into operation during October.

Another three A320s will be put into service by the end of the first quarter of next year.

The airline says that it will use the aircraft to replace widebody jets on short-haul and regional routes, enabling it to free capacity for further long-haul services.

Its first A320 will be configured with 20 business-class and 120 economy-class seats. It will be used for services to the Iranian capital Tehran from next month.

Etihad has not yet indicated the source of the aircraft or identified the engine type. Narrowbodies have not formed part of any order placed by Etihad, which has so far focused on acquiring long-haul jets.

The airline will put its other A320s into operation on routes to Beirut, Muscat, Cairo, Kuwait, Doha, Bahrain, Dammam, Amman, Damascus and Karachi.

Etihad had stated earlier this year that it planned to introduce narrowbody aircraft to its fleet. Chief executive James Hogan says that the twin-jets will be “ideally suited” to its short-haul network.

Source: FlightGlobal.com