Etihad Airways has welcomed Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner to Abu Dhabi International Airport. It is the revolutionary composite aircraft’s first visit to the UAE capital.
The historic BOE787 flight landed at 7.05pm local time on Wednesday June 6, and was greeted by a traditional water canon salute on arrival.
Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787 Project Pilot, Captain John Downey was at the controls throughout the 6,000 kilometre flight from Casablanca, Morocco.
Last December, Etihad Airways announced it was buying 10 more Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, taking its total order to 41, valued at US $9.3 billion, and making it the largest operator of the aircraft type in the world. The UAE flag carrier has options and purchase rights for an additional 25 and deliveries are scheduled to begin in the last quarter of 2014.
Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “It’s a tremendous honour to welcome the 787 Dreamliner to Abu Dhabi. It also marks the official countdown for us, as we prepare to introduce this magnificent aircraft into our fleet from 2014.
“This aircraft is the future and our decision to opt for the 787 Dreamliner is testimony to our commitment to operating one of the youngest and most fuel efficient fleets in the skies.
The UAE flag carrier has worked closely with Boeing, Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) and the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), to coordinate a number of events aimed at celebrating the aircraft’s presence in the UAE capital.
Earlier today, a select group of VIP guests experienced a two hour demonstration flight, which included an aerial tour of the UAE.
Hundreds of airline and airport-based workers also inspected the aircraft upon its return and the day will conclude with the Dreamliner at the centre of a special lightshow spectacular.
Captain Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ Chief Operations Officer, said: “Everything about this aircraft is cutting edge. From the composite fuselage, which is lighter and stronger than aluminium, to the engines which are cleaner, quieter and more fuel efficient than other engines operating today, to the all-new wing design with raked wingtips, which help reduce drag and make the aircraft incredibly efficient and environmentally friendly. Pilots will love to fly it and passengers will be just as impressed.”
Marty Bentrott, Vice President, Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes said: “It’s great to bring the 787 Dreamliner to Abu Dhabi for the first time, and especially so for our key customer of the 787-9 variant - Etihad Airways. Internationally, the airline is setting benchmarks and winning awards for its service and standards, and we have no doubt that our aircraft will play a pivotal role in inspiring your guests to travel with you well into the future.”
Abdul Khaliq Saeed, President Middle East & North Africa of the Mubadala Aerospace MRO network, commented: “At ADAT, we are honoured to host the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in our state-of-the-art hangar, and look forward to providing maintenance services on this aircraft once it joins the Etihad Airways fleet.”
Abu Dhabi Airports Company CEO, James E. Bennett, said: “The arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Abu Dhabi International Airport is a great opportunity to experience this innovative product that will be introduced by Etihad Airways in the coming years and will allow Abu Dhabi International Airport to expand its network to new routes across the globe.
“ADAC is looking forward to welcoming this state-of-the-art aircraft type to our airport as it will be a key contributor to the further development of Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi International Airport and the air transport sector in Abu Dhabi in general.”