Etihad had placed a massive order for the Airbus A350 aircraft at the Dubai Airshow in 2013, with 62 orders booked between the A350-900 and the A350-1000 variants. However, with the financial troubles at Etihad, the orders were cut down in 2019. Etihad retained only 20 of the A350-1000 variants, out of which 5 had already been delivered to them. The rest 15 remain on the books but haven’t moved forward, yet.
The Etihad A350-1000
Even with the 5 aircraft delivered to Etihad, they were not brought into Abu Dhabi but were put in storage at Bordeaux, until 2021, where the first of these showed up at the Dubai Airshow 2021 under a special livery celebrating the 50 years of the UAE.
Eventually, Etihad, in the new world order, where it intends to contract and become a boutique airline, intends to keep only two widebodies in its fleet over the long term, the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350-1000. The A350s began to make their way to Etihad in the second half of 2021, and the cabin fitment was done in Abu Dhabi itself, with Etihad Engineering’s MRO operations.
The first one, A6-XWB, showed up at the Dubai Airshow 2021, although access was very limited.
The seat in the business cabin is the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond, also used by British Airways in their new Club Suite, albeit more customised on the BA product. Business Class will be the top cabin on the aircraft, and the aircraft will not have any premium economy. Here are some screengrabs from a member of the UAE Royalty’s entourage, who got the tour at the Airshow.
You can watch the full video here, which also shows a bit of the economy cabin.
الشيخ أحمد بن سعيد آل مكتوم الرئيس الأعلى الرئيس التنفيذي لـ #طيران_الإمارات والمجموعة، برفقة السيد/ توني دوغلاس الرئيس التنفيذي لمجموعة #الإتحاد_للطيران يطلعان على مقصورة ومنتجات أحدث طائرات #الإتحاد_للطيران طراز الإيرباص #A350 على هامش #معرض_دبي_للطيران_2021 pic.twitter.com/KkitedhW0G
— سالم بن تميم الريامي (@salim_bin_tamim) November 14, 2021
Etihad had said that the aircraft will begin operations in 2022, on the backdrop of the Boeing 77W in their fleet being phased out. Etihad Group CEO Tony Douglas had said,
We look forward to our guests being able to experience our state-of-the-art Airbus A350s when they debut later this year, taking pride of place alongside our Boeing 787s. With one of the most fuel-efficient fleets in the world and with sustainability at the very top of our agenda, we will continue to pave the way for more sustainable flying in 2022 and beyond.
Etihad puts out the first routes for the A350-1000
Etihad’s shiny new A350-1000 (now two years old though), will start serving the following services to Mumbai effective April 1, 2022. There are certain 787-9 services that are not mentioned here.
EY204 AUH1450 – 1920 BOM 35K 56
EY206 AUH2205 – 0235+1BOM 35K D
EY205 BOM0435 – 0605 AUH 35K D
EY203 BOM2055 – 2225 AUH 35K 56
Similarly, on the Abu Dhabi – Delhi segments, the A350-1000 makes its appearance on April 30, 2022.
EY218 AUH2220 – 0315 DEL 35K D
EY211 DEL0445 – 0700 AUH 35K D
I see the A350 loaded on the schedules till June 30, 2022, for the time being.
It does seem Etihad will use the first few months to train more and more crew on the A350-1000, which is a new aircraft and a new product in their fleet, before flying these aircraft to the longer missions where they will truly shine.
Etihad will introduce flights on their new A350-1000 aircraft between Abu Dhabi and Delhi/Mumbai in April 2022. This aircraft should be a treat for those who like new-generation aircraft, as well as the new Etihad Airways product.
Are you scheduled to fly in April-June 2022 on Etihad Airways?
(HT to Shubham)
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