Etihad has received full approval from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for its narrow body aircraft, the Airbus A319 and Airbus A320, to operate in Category III B (CAT III B) low visibility conditions in Abu Dhabi.
Etihad took delivery of its first narrow body aircraft in April 2008 and has worked closely with the GCAA since then to gain the CAT III B approval.
The certification means that all Etihad aircraft can now land, take-off and manoeuvre in the minimum published visibility conditions at all suitably equipped airports in its global flight network.
CAT III B is an enhanced capability of the instrument landing system (ILS), implemented at airports around the world, which requires advanced runway markings and airfield lighting as well as surface movement radar to enable low visibility operations.
Due to current restrictions at Abu Dhabi airport, operation levels are between 125 to 150 metres, depending on the type of aircraft, for the runway visual range (RVR). RVR is the term used for electronically measured visibility.
Etihad has 42 aircraft in its fleet. These consist of five Boeing 777-300 ER, five Airbus A340-600, four A340-500, one A340-300, fourteen A330-200, eight A320-200, two A319-100, two A300-600F and one MD11 freighter.
Etihad is due to take delivery of 11 more aircraft in 2009. These are Airbus A330-200, one A330-300, two A340-600, five A320-200 and one B777-300ER.