Etihad A380: The only three-room suite in the sky
Abu Dhabi's national carrier, Etihad, showcased on Thursday the arrival of its first Airbus A380, outfitted with "the only three-room suite in the sky."
The A380 is the first of a fleet of 10 on order from Etihad Airways, which is to take delivery of four more of the double-decker jets next year.
The A380 will operate daily to London Heathrow starting Dec. 27 and features "The Residence by Etihad" — a three-room suite, complete with a living room, a private bathroom with shower and a bedroom, as well as a dedicated butler at the very front of the plane's upper deck. The 11.6 square meter (125 square foot) cabin is for single or double occupancy.
The airliner says the suite has already been booked for its inaugural flight to London. The company's executives previously said that the suite was expected to be priced at $21,000 — one way.
The fast-growing Gulf carrier has a fleet of 109 aircraft, and more than 200 aircraft on firm order.
The airline also showcased Thursday its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will begin flying to Dusseldorf, Germany, on Feb. 1. It will offer high-end travelers a suite with a chilled mini-bar and seats that can be joined to create a double bed.
The company said that three more of the Dreamliners are expected to be delivered in 2015.
Etihad President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said that despite some delays with the 787 due to a variety of glitches, he is "very confident that the issues they have had have been resolved."
Etihad said that Abu Dhabi-based FGB and The National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia will provide financing for the purchase of a number of its Boeing 787 aircraft. It also received financing from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank for its first Airbus A380 aircraft.
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