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Etihad Airways will operate three daily A380 services from Heathrow by the end of next year.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier unveiled the first of its 10 A380s yesterday which will go into service from London on December 27.

The aircraft includes a first-class 'apartment', The Residence (pictured), featuring a lounge, bedroom and shower, which Etihad will sell for $20,000 one way between London and Abu Dhabi.

Etihad confirmed the Residence on the inaugural flight had been booked by a travel agent in the US.

The carrier also displayed its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

But Etihad chief executive James Hogan said: "The A380 will be our flagship at London Heathrow."

The carrier currently operates three services a day between Heathrow and its hub at Abu Dhabi.

Hogan confirmed: "Heathrow will eventually be three A380s a day."

Etihad will also put the A380 into service to and from Sydney and New York. But an airline source confirmed Heathrow would see a triple daily A380 service before the end of 2015.

As well as the 10 A380s, Etihad has another 70 Boeing 787s