It’s less than a month until the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix once again gets underway on Sunday 25th November, and as always Etihad Airways will be a title sponsor for what has become the largest event of its kind in the Middle East. Expect to see Etihad taking full advantage of the occasion, with the airline’s branding visible across the famous Yas Marina circuit.
This should be a pretty special year for Etihad as it prepares to celebrate its 15th birthday on 5th November. To mark the occasion, the airline has collaborated with world-renowned fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg to create limited edition neck scarves and ties for its cabin crew – the intricately patterned material features the outline of the Yas Marina circuit.
It just goes to show how seriously Etihad takes its sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In fact, for many years, Etihad even had a special liveried Airbus A340 aircraft emblazoned with its sponsorship of the event. Sadly, Etihad decided to retire the 10-year old aircraft last year, and with it one of the airline’s most unique liveries.
But it now looks like Etihad is about to take delivery of a brand new special livery in time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Etihad is currently awaiting delivery of a number of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which are being made at the aerospace giant’s facility in Charleston, South Carolina.
A few weeks ago, a video from inside the factory revealed what appeared to be a rather unusual Etihad liveried plane hiding at the back… you’ll have to look closely:
FAL Boeing Charleston 5 oct 2018
A special silver livery for Etihad's 787-9 A6-BLV ? (position 4 back right)
Une livrée spéciale argentée pour le 787-9 Etihad A6-BLV ? (au fond à droite en position 4)
Video was released by Air Tahiti Nui for delivery of their own 787 pic.twitter.com/xrn3yj4yOZ
— AVgeeks Tahiti ✈️ (@AVgeeksTahiti) October 6, 2018
Then a separate photo taken by a popular plane spotter at the Charleston facility was posted on Twitter. What appeared to be a Photoshopped version of Etihad’s famous ‘facets of Abu Dhabi’ tailfin design in a monochrome silver design hadn’t been tampered with at all.
— Cassidy's Vacay (@cassidysvacay) October 16, 2018
And now we know what was going on – New photos now reveal that the latest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to join Etihad’s fleet will sport a new F1 special paint job. Here’s the first look which was revealed on Twitter last night…
Etihad Airways'e Charleston Fabrikası'nda teslim edilecek Boeing 787-9 tipi uçağa "Formula1" boyaması giydirildi.
Uçağın kuyruğı ise siyah beyaz yapılarak damalı bayrak görünümü kazandırıldı. pic.twitter.com/EI5zuwa9sP
— HavaSosyalMedya ???? (@HavaSosyalMedya) October 30, 2018
And here’s a video from inside the factory which shows the paint job up close…
For many years, Etihad’s female cabin crew have featured as so-called ‘Grid Girls’ during the Abu Dhabi event. Earlier this year, Liberty Media which owns the rights to F1 decided to ban grid girls, saying they didn’t represent “modern-day societal norms” although allowed female models in other forms at the Monaco Grand Prix in May.
What do you think of Etihad’s new F1 livery?
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.