April 18, 2021 / Etihad Airways (EY) made no official announcements, yet, but, apparently, its Airbus A380 fleet is gone. The Abu Abu Dhabi (AUH)-based carrier has cancelled its double-deckers from the fleet list on its website. Also gone is any information regarding the first suites and the exclusive three-room apartment called “The residence”, both unique features offered by Etihad on its Superjumbo.
Last month, local UAE publication, The National, reported Etihad’s CEO Tony Douglas as saying that “we have now taken the strategic decision to park the A380s, I am sure it’s very likely that we won’t see them operating with Etihad again“. Planespotters.net also put EY’s ten A380 in the “Historic” list fleet of the airline. It is not known if The Residence will find a ‘new home’ on another of the airline’s aircraft types, or if it is considered to be gone forever, as well.
Yet, the carrier did not produce any press release, regarding the fate of the type. That is consistent with the fierce competition which always animated the rivalry between Etihad, Emirates and Qatar, in which national or brand pride has always played a key role. Under this perspective, the retirement of the A380s is a “defeat” for Etihad, or a sign of weakness, particularly considering that neighbour airline Emirates has recently declared that it will “fly the A380 for a long time”.
Airways Etihad had received its first double-decker in December 2014, while the last one had arrived in May 2017, a mere four years ago. Every aircraft featured 2 seats in The Residence, 9 in Firts Class suites, 70 in Business Class and 417 in Economy, for a total of 498 seats. The list of destinations included London (LHR), Sydney (SYD) and New York (JFK).
With the furlough of the A380, EY’s fleet is now based on three aircraft types: the Boeing 777-300 ER (19 of the type), the Boeing 787 (9 -10s plus 30 -9s) and the A320 family (10 A321-100 plus 20 A320-200.) (Photo Wikimedia Commons / Lars Hentschel)