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Etihad's private cabin

Cabins with proper beds and butlers feature in Etihad's plans for its new fleet.

The world's biggest private cabin on a commercial aircraft is being planned on the industry's biggest plane. When the first of Etihad Airways' fleet of A380s takes off in December from Abu Dhabi to London, the superjumbos will feature a 11.5-square-metre, three-room cabin on the upper deck called The Residence, with a two-seat sofa living and dining room, double bedroom, ensuite shower - and a butler. It aims to evoke the luxury of a private jet, says president and CEO James Hogan. The fare is yet to be announced, though it's likely to be in the vicinity of $20,000 to London; flights from Sydney begin in June next year.

The Residence is the showpiece of Etihad's ambitious plans for its fleets of A380s and Dreamliners. On the superjumbo will be nine First Apartments with personal vanity units, a shower room for first-class passengers and a shared lounge and bar for first and business passengers. On both the A380s and Dreamliners, Etihad will launch its new Business Studios, said to offer 20 per cent more space per passenger than its current business-class seats. And economy cabins will be fitted with new "smart seats" with fixed-wing headrests and adjustable lumbar support. The A380s will operate out of Sydney and Melbourne; the Dreamliners out of Brisbane and Perth - the airline launches daily flights from Perth on its existing fleet this month.

Meanwhile, the airline has opened its first dedicated lounge in Australia, beside Gate 51 at Sydney's international airport. Styled in dark wood and mint-green leather, the lounge has a soundproof children's playroom, bar, lounge, business centre and à la carte dining and buffet.

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