By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi airline announces plan to beam all 64 matches from the World Cup tournament in Brazil
Etihad Airways announced on Thursday that every football match of the World Cup tournament in Brazil will be beamed live to its passengers at 30,000 feet.
All 64 games will be transmitted live on the Abu Dhabi airline’s fleet of planes by IMG Media using Etihad's state-of-the-art interactive inflight entertainment system, E-box, powered by Panasonic technology.
The World Cup kicks off later on Thursday with host nation Brazil taking on Croatia in Sao Paulo.
The final will be played on Sunday July 13 in Rio de Janeiro when the global television audience for this single match alone is estimated to reach more than one billion people.
Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer, Etihad Airways said: “The FIFA World Cup is the biggest and most exciting sporting event in the world and I’m delighted that all of our guests will be able to watch every match while they fly with us on their long-haul business or holiday flights. I hope that they sit back, relax and enjoy the great football action.”
Etihad's non-stop daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Sao Paulo have been in operation since June and the airline has reported "great demand" from British, Dutch and Belgian expatriates living in the UAE capital.
Etihad Airways employs 49 of Brazilian nationals as cabin crew, many of whom will work on board flights between Abu Dhabi and Sao Paulo during the World Cup, the airline said in a statement.
The airline operates an Airbus A340-500 ultra-long range aircraft on the route and offers 3,360 seats a week in a three-class configuration.