April 28, 2019 / 11:07 AM / 5 months ago

Etihad to offer wireless streaming, remove screens from narrow-body fleet

FILE PHOTO: A worker cleans behind Etihad airlines counters at JFK International Airport in New York, U.S., March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways will offer wirelessly streamed movies and television shows to passengers on mainly short-haul flights as it removes entertainment screens from its Airbus A320 narrow-body fleet.

The airline, which is embarking on a turnaround strategy after years of heavy losses, announced a new economy-class product for its 23 A320 jets on Sunday.

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, while a senior executive said 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.

The A320s are mainly used on short-haul regional flights but also to cities within five hours’ flying of Abu Dhabi, Etihad said.

The airline has downsized its growth ambitions and is focusing on point-to-point traffic.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Dale Hudson

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