Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: A state-of-the-art Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will touch down in Perth today after its inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi.

Etihad Airways flight EY486 took off from Abu Dhabi at 10.30pm yesterday and is scheduled to arrive in the Western Australian capital at 1:50pm today where it will be welcomed by a water cannon salute. The return flight EY487 will depart Perth this evening at 5pm and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 12:25am on 3 June.

The B787-9 Dreamliner features Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy Class cabins. With 299 seats, it delivers 14 per cent more capacity than the Airbus A330-200 it replaces. In the high-demand Business Class cabin, it offers 27 per cent more seats.

Etihad Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing, Shane O’Hare, said the decision to upgrade to the Dreamliner reflected the importance of Western Australia to Etihad Airways.

“Since launching flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi two years ago we have enjoyed strong two-way demand from business and leisure travellers on the route.

“The Dreamliner, which adds 518 weekly seats to the route, gives us the extra capacity needed to meet this ever-increasing demand.

“It also enables our guests to experience the luxury, comfort and hospitality for which Etihad Airways is world-renowned.

“Our Dreamliners, with ground-breaking innovations in all cabins, have raised the passenger experience bar, setting the benchmark in world aviation for superior comfort, entertainment, inflight connectivity, and service.”

Mr O’Hare also commented on the contribution the new Dreamliner services would make to inbound tourism to Western Australia.

“The additional weekly seats to Perth will bolster Etihad Airways’ existing support for Western Australia’s tourism industry by bringing more international visitors from across our global network to experience the delights of a Western Australian holiday.

“Together with our partner airlines, we offer travellers from Europe, the Middle East and east coast USA, the comfort and convenience of one-stop flights to Perth with seamless transfers at the Abu Dhabi hub.”

The Etihad Airways B787-9 Dreamliner features the airline’s highly acclaimed next-generation interiors with 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats.

The onboard décor and lighting have been inspired by contemporary modern Arabian design, complementing the airline’s eye-catching ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ livery.

The 28 Business Studios all offer direct aisle access, a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long, and an increase of 20 per cent in personal space. Upholstered in the finest Poltrona Frau leather, the Business Studio is equipped with an in-seat massage and pneumatic cushion control system which enables guests to adjust the firmness and comfort of their seat. Each Business Studio has an 18-inch personal touch-screen TV with noise-cancelling headsets.

The 271 Economy Smart Seats provide enhanced comfort with a unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest on each seat, adjustable lumbar support, a seat width of approximately 19 inches, and an 11.1” personal TV monitor.

The Dreamliner fleet features the latest Panasonic eX3 entertainment system which provides more than 750 hours of on-demand entertainment including seven live TV channels, improved gaming and high definition screens across all cabins. The aircraft has full mobile and Wi-Fi service, with USB and power points at every seat.

The airline’s world-renowned hospitality offering includes innovative services such as Flying Nannies and onboard Food and Beverage Managers. A Flying Nanny, trained by the world-famous Norland College in the UK, is on board every B787-9 Dreamliner flight to provide assistance to families travelling with young children. Food and Beverage Managers, handpicked from the world’s top hotels and restaurants, guide guests in Business Class through the extensive a la carte and dine anytime options and provide recommendations on the optimal food and wine pairing.

Etihad Airways uniquely offers travellers from Western Australia the convenience of US Customs and Border Protection at Abu Dhabi Airport. This facility, exclusive to Etihad Airways in the Gulf region, allows guests to complete immigration, customs and security clearance procedures for the USA while in transit at Abu Dhabi – avoiding lengthy queues upon arrival at US airports.

Etihad Airways launched daily two-class Airbus A330-200 services to Perth in July 2014.

Beyond Perth, Etihad Airways offers connections to eight towns and cities in Western Australia in conjunction with codeshare partner Virgin Australia. The partnership enables guests to seamlessly connect to Etihad Airways’ global network from Broome, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kununurra, Karratha, Paraburdoo, Port Hedland and Newman.

In addition to the WA capital, Etihad Airways serves Sydney with double daily flights, in conjunction with Virgin Australia1; double daily flights to Melbourne; and daily services to Brisbane.

Perth is the second Australian city to be served by Etihad Airways’ B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft; Brisbane was the first in June 2015. The Dreamliner is also deployed to Singapore, Washington DC, Zurich and Düsseldorf. Services will commence to Istanbul, Johannesburg and Shanghai throughout the remainder of 2016.

With a further 64 Boeing 787 Dreamliners scheduled for delivery over the next few years, the aircraft will become the mainstay of Etihad Airways’ long-haul fleet.

Guests on the Dreamliner enjoy the industry’s largest windows; air that is cleaner, more humid and at a higher pressure for better comfort; large overhead stowage bins, soothing LED lighting; and technology to sense and counter turbulence for a smoother ride.