Etihad Relaunches Its Boeing 787 South Africa Tag Flight

On September 30th, Etihad Airways unveiled three new destinations for its upcoming winter season. These three quarantine-free spots are the South African cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as the tropical island paradise of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania. Let’s take a look at the aircraft selection and scheduling for these services.

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The Boeing 787-9 will be used for service to South Africa. Photo: Etihad

“We’re proud to be launching Etihad’s newest destinations in Africa this winter and we’re confident our guests will find they are all incredible places to visit.” -Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad

An eye on Africa

Starting late November, Etihad will begin flying to Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa and the island territory of Zanzibar, Tanzania. With these new locations, Etihad will have a total of 70 destinations across 47 countries.

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The much shorter service to Zanzibar will be operated by an Airbus A320. Photo:

Etihad chief Tony Douglas notes that Johannesburg is an important route on the airline’s network, offering connectivity to the southern region of the African continent. Conversely, the launch of these routes is expected to take travelers from the southern African region to Abu Dhabi and the rest of Etihad’s network.

Etihad had previously operated service to Johannesburg and even went so far as to enter into a codeshare agreement with South African Airways (SAA) in 2013. In 2015, the partnership was extended, and SAA launched a daily Johannesburg-Abu Dhabi service to complement Etihad’s existing daily flight.

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Scheduling and aircraft

Etihad will be deploying its Boeing 787-9 on the services to South Africa, which will operate as EY602 outbound and EY601 returning. As shown on the map above, Cape Town will be a ‘tag’ flight, served as an addition to the Johannesburg service.

The schedule with specific timings is embedded below. This will see the flight to Johannesburg operating as a red-eye three times per week, departing Abu Dhabi in the middle of the night and arriving just in time for breakfast. Leaving South Africa, Etihad’s service will also be an overnight service, departing in the afternoon/evening and arriving at 05:00 local time.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is configured with 28 seats in business class, 78 Economy Space seats, and 184 seats in standard economy class.

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Both services will be overnight flights. Photo: Etihad

For service to Zanzibar, Etihad will operate the Airbus A320 as EY637 and EY638. Although this service is much shorter, the flights will also be overnight services operating three times per week.

Etihad’s Airbus A320 is fitted with eight seats in business and 150 seats in economy.

Hoping for more Expo 2020 traffic

“We are also thrilled to offer connectivity for travelers from both countries to visit our home the UAE over the winter months. With the world’s greatest show, Expo 2020, opening now there has never been a better time to visit Abu Dhabi and the UAE,” notes Douglas in a statement.

The airline has partnered with Exponential Abu Dhabi to expose Expo 2020 Dubai travelers to the diversity of neighboring Abu Dhabi, including its desert landscapes, sandy beaches, and warm, clear waters.

Etihad Airways is giving all of its guests traveling into or via Abu Dhabi a complimentary ticket to Expo 2020 Dubai- an offer that will run until March 31st, 2022.

Do you have any plans to fly with Etihad to these African destinations? Let us know in the comments.