Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, last week celebrated a major milestone as the fastest growing airline in commercial aviation history, when it took delivery of its 100th and 101st aircraft on the same day.
The one hundredth aircraft, a new Airbus A321-231 (registration A6-AEC), was delivered from the Airbus Finkenwerder facility in Hamburg. On arrival in Abu Dhabi, the aircraft was welcomed by over 500 Etihad Airways employees at a specially organised photo-shoot to mark the occasion.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “This is an important day for an airline which launched operations just over ten years ago. Etihad Airways continues to grow, to prosper and to lead the way in innovation and service. Today, we fly the most technologically advanced and fuel efficient aircraft available, setting new standards in comfort and reliability.”
The airline now operates three Airbus A321, with seven more on order. This A321 delivery is joined by the airline’s 101st aircraft, an Airbus A320-200 (registration A6-EIX). Both aircraft are equipped with sharklets, which are blended winglets at each wingtip, designed to enhance the payload-range performance, allowing a significant reduction in fuel-burn.
In November 2013, Etihad Airways placed its largest ever aircraft order at the Dubai Airshow with a value of US$67 billion for up to 199 aircraft and 294 engines.
The airline will take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A380 aircraft in October and December of this year respectively. These aircraft will feature Etihad Airways’ revolutionary new cabins, which were unveiled on 4 May 2014, including for the first time in the airline industry, a luxurious self-contained three room cabin on the A380 known as ‘The Residence’, featuring a separate living room, bathroom and double bedroom.