In October, Etihad Airways will introduce two Airbus A320s with single cabins configured to carry 162 passengers and the airline has plans in place...

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is introducing a number of all-economy-class aircraft into its short-haul fleet, for the first time.

In October, Etihad Airways will introduce two Airbus A320s with single cabins configured to carry 162 passengers, an increase of 42 from the current economy-class capacity in its two-class A320s.

Etihad Airways’ all-economy-class aircraft will operate to short-haul destinations with high demand for economy traffic and low demand for premium traffic. Initially these will be Alexandria in Egypt, Colombo in Sri Lanka, Damascus in Syria, Doha in Qatar and Calicut and Thiruvananthapuram in India.

The airline has plans in place to expand its all-economy fleet to 10 A320s, which will enable Etihad to launch new short-haul destinations with low demand for premium travel, and also offer all-economy service to other existing Etihad destinations.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways operates a fleet predominantly comprised of Airbus aircraft and which includes a growing number of A320-family narrowbody jets. By 2010, the airline's A320-family complement had reached 13 A320s and two A319s and the airline said it had another 35 A320s on order from Airbus

“Etihad has grown at a remarkable pace during the past six and a half years. We have built a strong brand and a robust business, and it is the right time to challenge the way we serve our various markets and segments,” says James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer. “Our all-economy aircraft will allow us to offer a more competitive product in key point-to-point markets in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian Subcontinent, while maintaining the high standards of service we have become known for.”

The airline says customers travelling on the new ‘all economy’ aircraft will receive the same service and product that is featured on Etihad Airways’ current narrowbody fleet, such as seat back in-flight entertainment screens and hot and cold meals and beverages. Each seat in the all-economy-class aircraft will have a 32-inch pitch.

Etihad Airways currently has 15 A320s in its fleet, with 35 more on order from Airbus.