Johannesburg, South Africa – Etihad Airways (Etihad), the national airline of the UAE, has celebrated the deployment of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its daily scheduled services from Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg, effective 20 October. To mark the occasion, an exclusive gala dinner was held last night at the magnificent Summer Place in Sandton, attended by local officials, diplomats, corporate partners, members of the travel industry, media, and Etihad representatives. 

Etihad first introduced flights to Johannesburg on 1 December 2005, one of the first major African cities on its expanding global network, increasing to daily in July 2007. To meet demand for a more comfortable and personalised travel experience, the airline has added the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route to demonstrate its commitment to the important South African market. 

Karlene Barkley, Etihad Airways Country Manager for South Africa, said: “We continue our commitment to serving the South African market, building on the strong relationship enjoyed between our two countries. Etihad embodies the best of the UAE, carrying the spirit and ambition of our nation to South Africa, and vice versa, and celebrating it through our shared values, genuine Arabian hospitality, heritage and tradition. 

“Etihad commenced flights between South Africa and the UAE almost fourteen years ago, and since the launch of our first flight, we have carried approximately 1.7 million guests on this popular route to Abu Dhabi and onwards to key destinations popular with our South African customers, including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangkok and Phuket, among others. We thank our guests and partners here in South Africa for their unwavering support and loyalty.” 

The two-class 787-9s serving Johannesburg feature industry-leading cabins with 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats. Etihad is currently in the process of reconfiguring its Dreamliners to also feature new Economy Space seating. The introduction of the aircraft will also see an increase in cargo capacity on each flight. 2 

Etihad has a codeshare partnership in place with South African airline, Kulula, which provides travellers with easy onward connections onto Kulula services from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, East London, and George. 

About Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787-9 (two-class) 

The 28 Business Studios offer direct aisle access, a fully-flat bed of up to 80.5 inches in length, and an increase of 20 per cent in personal space. Upholstered in fine 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. Guests can also enjoy mobile connectivity, onboard Wi-Fi and seven satellite channels of live TV. 

271 Economy Smart Seats provide enhanced comfort with a unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest, adjustable lumbar support, a seat width of approximately 19 inches and an 11.1” personal TV monitor on each seat. The aircraft has been designed with enhancements including humidity controls while air pressure levels are set to ensure a smoother flight, allowing guests to arrive feeling fresher. 

The airline’s Boeing 787 fleet is equipped with the latest inflight entertainment system featuring over 750 hours of movies and programmes, as well as hundreds of music choices and a selection of games for both adults and children.