Etihad scraps seat-back screens in short-haul cabins
Etihad Airways is scrapping seat-back screens from some of its aircraft in a cost-cutting exercise and will instead offer wirelessly streamed movies and TV shows to passengers.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline, which is embarking on a turnaround strategy after years of heavy losses, announced a new economy-class product for its 23 A320 jets.
Passengers will be encouraged to connect their personal devices to an onboard streaming service that does not rely on internet satellite to watch entertainment content.
All 23 A320s are expected to be refitted by August, the airline said.
A senior executive added that the removal of screens would save the airline 18 tonnes in weight a year.
The weight reduction will mean aircraft use less fuel, a major operating cost for all carriers.
However, Etihad points out that personal seat-back screens will remain standard in the economy cabins of the airline’s wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
The retro-fit programme will see screen-less “extra-spatial design” seats by UK-based firm Acro installed on aircraft.
Etihad says the next-generation seats will provide a comfortable “living space” and increased knee room.
The seats have also been designed to feature fast-charging USB ports and an adjustable phone and tablet holder.
The A320s are mainly used on short-haul regional flights but also to cities within five hours’ flying of Abu Dhabi, Etihad said.
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