Etihad Airways will increase capacity between Abu Dhabi and Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, by upgrading the current daily Airbus A321 service to a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from 27 October, 2019. The step-up from narrowbody to widebody aircraft follows yesterday’s announcement by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the immediate removal of a travel ban to Lebanon for UAE citizens. Lifting this restriction, imposed in February 2016, is expected to spur a significant increase in demand for travel between the two capitals.
Flight EY 535 will depart Abu Dhabi at 9:50am daily, arriving in Beirut at 12:30pm, with the return flight EY 538 leaving Beirut at 2:00pm and arriving back in Abu Dhabi at 7:35pm. Etihad will operate the upgraded flights with two-class Boeing 787-9s, the newest aircraft type in the airline’s fleet. These jets are configured to seat 299 passengers in a mix of 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats, and feature product including the acclaimed E-Box entertainment system. The 787s will also provide a significant increase in cargo capacity.
Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “Lebanon is a critically important market for the UAE and for its national airline, Etihad Airways. When Etihad was launched in November 2003, Beirut was our first very first scheduled destination. Following the announcement yesterday that travel restrictions between these markets will be lifted, we moved quickly to increase our capacity to meet an expected increase in passenger and cargo demand, and to allocate our newest aircraft and product to the route.”