By Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
Etihad Airways ‘Sustainable 50’ A350 makes inaugural flight to New York
On 30 June 2022, Etihad Airways celebrated the arrival of its new Airbus A350-1000 (one of five new Airbus A350s to join Etihad’s fleet this year) in the United States, with 371 passengers, following the inaugural commercial flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
The Airbus A350 XWB is a twin-engine, low-wing airliner made by the European multinational Airbus. Intended for long-haul routes, it features a wide-body configuration, and it is one of the most efficient aircraft types in the world, with a 25 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to previous generation twin-aisle aircraft. Developed from the A330 and A340 families, it was then redesigned with a wider fuselage (hence the name “XWB,” eXtra Wide Body) to meet customer demands.
The Airbus A350 is an aircraft of great interest in commercial and cargo aviation because of its sustainability features. Many airlines have chosen it recently, including Etihad, which, in 2021, formed a partnership with Airbus and Rolls Royce called “the Sustainable50 program”, which will use Etihad’s A350s as a flying testbed for new initiatives, procedures and technologies to reduce carbon emissions.
From July 1, all Etihad flights servicing New York and Chicago O’Hare International Airport will be operated by the A350s.
The Airbus A350 aircraft features Etihad’s newest cabin interior, inspired by the shadows cast by Abu Dhabi’s palm trees and is more efficient and sustainable in design. The cabin lighting emulates natural ambient light and is designed to enhance the guest experience, provide an optimum environment for sleeping and reduce the effects of jetlag. Mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity is also available throughout the aircraft.
The aircraft has a two-class configuration, Business and Economy. The Business class is home to 44 Business seats with sliding doors that provide a high level of privacy to each suite and a width of over 20”. Each seat converts into a fully-flat bed of 79” in length and faces forward directly aisle access. Etihad’s spacious Economy cabin is configured with 327 smart seats in a 3-3-3 arrangement, of which 45 ‘Economy Space’ seats have been enhanced with an additional 4 inches of legroom. Guests receive blankets and pillows for additional comfort and amenity kits on longer flights.
Etihad passengers traveling to the US have access to Etihad’s US pre-clearance, the only United States Customs and Border Protection facility in the Middle East. This allows passengers bound for the United States to process all immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in Abu Dhabi before they board their flight, avoiding immigration and queues on arrival in the US.
Etihad continues its partnership with Airbus aircraft and confirms its interest in the Airbus A350. Back in February at the Singapore Airshow, Etihad had already become the newest customer for the Airbus A350F (seven A350F freighters ordered), focusing on the future of the widebody freighter market.