LONDON – Etihad Airways (EY) has unveiled to Middle-Eastern media that it will increase its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet to 51 by next year. This is part of the airline’s plans to take delivery of 11 frames next year.

The carrier currently has a fleet of 38 Dreamliners, which is set to increase to 40 by the end of this year, with the further 11 due to be delivered over the course of 2021.

Etihad Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo Credit: John Leivaditis

Strong Bond with Boeing

Commenting on this was Paul Kreer, Senior VP of Technical Operations at Etihad, who expressed love for the aircraft. “Here at Etihad we love the 787 and it’s our most efficient aircraft. Our customers also love it and the whole cabin experience.”

The quote came following a media briefing with manufacturer Boeing over a licensed Ultraviolet Wand which will counter COVID-19 bacteria. This device has been used on the Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 EcoDemonstrator, with the frame due to be delivered to EY soon.

This testing program began last month, with Boeing trying to establish more fuel-efficient ways of flying and more.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo Credit: Aidan Pullino

Deliveries in the Wake of Cuts?

There could be a level of criticism sent to EY by its workers, especially with the airline still receiving aircraft and continuing to make cuts elsewhere. Even before COVID, the airline has been in significant arrears but is looking to turn that around, as mentioned in an interview with Airways back in August.

But other carriers have been paying for the significant growth of Etihad across Europe, such as the Serbian government having to help in the repayment of loans to its national carrier Air Serbia (JU). In the case of Etihad, careful steps must be made in order not to alienate its workers as a result.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Positive Steps

That being said, it appears as if the airline does need the additional aircraft, especially due to its recent route launches and re-launches during the pandemic.

It has joined the likes of Emirates (EK) at Munich (MUC) as well as restarting operations at Shanghai (PVG).

EY has also taken steps to offer further consumer confidence through the introduction of global COVID-19 insurance, like with Emirates, Virgin Atlantic (VS), and others.

Even if the airline has been operating A380 Ghost Flights, it remains clear that the airline is heading in a more positive stage compared to previously.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Looking Ahead

It remains clear that for EY, it is taking the necessary measures to not just fight this pandemic financially, but to recover from the woes it has experienced over the last few years.

For EY, all eyes will be on the carrier to see what steps it takes as we come towards the end of the year and what 2021 will ultimately hold for the airline.

Featured Image: Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons