Etihad has removed its fleet of Airbus A380s from its flight schedule indefinitely. The airline grounded its ten A380s in March. Previously, it has only been removing A380s from the schedule a month or two in advance. However, the A380s have now disappeared from Etihad’s flight schedules for the next 11 months.
Etihad CEO Tony Douglas confirmed last week that the fate of the huge A380s was undecided. But now, One Mile At A Time is reporting that all A380s have been removed from Etihad schedule for the foreseeable future, suggesting that perhaps, this is the end of the line for the A380s.
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Previously, Etihad operated its ten A380s on crucial routes from Abu Dhabi to London, New York, Paris, Sydney, and Seoul. However, the airline’s schedule, which shows flights up to September 2021, indicates that all destinations usually served by the A380 will be operated by 787-9s. One flight to Sydney will be conducted a 777-300ER.
While the schedule is subject to change, it does suggest that the A380s will not return to service any time soon, if at all.
What does this mean for the A380s?
In general, the global downturn has meant A380s around the world are being replaced by newer, more efficient twinjets. Both Air France and Lufthansa have already announced that many, if not all, of their A380s, will be pulled. Etihad CEO Tony Douglas seems to be leaning the same way, having commented that “other aircraft can do the job far more efficiently, far more sustainably.”
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road for all of Etihad’s classic jets. Neighboring airline Emirates has already resumed its A380 operations, showing that there is still a chance for some jets to be a part of the fleet.
The A380 has been a significant part of Etihad’s fleet, and the famous A380 first class apartments helped put the airline on the map. Perhaps Etihad will keep just a few A380s, although these may be just for nostalgic reasons.
With no A380s on its schedule, Etihad is left with Boeing 777s, Boeing 787s, Airbus A320 family, and one Airbus A330. It also has Airbus A350s on order, but there are reports that these may not be delivered.
But it seems as if currently, Etihad does not need its giant A380s. With demand so low and international travel restrictions still in place across much of the world, it doesn’t make sense to put them back in the sky.
Etihad has previously said it expects demand to recover through the first few months of 2021. If it does, this could result in a need for A380s. However, the removal of all A380s from schedules until September doesn’t look promising.
Simple Flying has contacted Etihad for comment but, at the time of publication, had not received a response.
Have you flown on an Etihad A380 before? Will you miss them if they are retired? Do you think they will be retired? We’d love to hear your thought on Etihad’s latest schedule changes.