Etihad’s A380 Aircraft might not return to service

Circa March 2020, airlines came around to the decision of parking their A380 fleets, given demand jumped off a cliff due to the CoVid-19 pandemic and the associated border closures across the globe. Since then, these ‘very large’ aircraft have seen a very different fate than most mid-size and small aircraft. Air France and Lufthansa determined that they will be retiring their entire A380 fleets. Even charter operator HiFly let go of its A380 aircraft. On the other hand, Singapore Airlines is using this time to reconfigure their A380s to their new specs introduced a few years ago. Many airlines have not taken a decision one way or another, choosing to wait instead.

a large airplane taking off

However, Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas seems to be making up his mind about the fate of the Abu Dhabi-based airlines A380 aircraft right about now.

Etihad “very likely” to not fly the A380s again.

Etihad’s A380 aircraft, similarly, have been on the ground for a year. The airline had inducted 10 A380 aircraft since 2014 and had put some industry-first products on these aircraft, including the Etihad Residence and the Etihad Apartments.

In a recent interview with The National newspaper of the UAE, Etihad’s CEO said,

We have now taken the strategic decision to park the A380s, I’m sure it’s very likely that we won’t see them operating with Etihad again.

This must be an expensive decision, whenever it happens, and signals the turn of Etihad’s focus on profitability. Etihad’s A380s were not designed so much for capacity as they were for luxury, to give the airline a product better than the Emirates A380 one to stand a fighting chance to win some of the Emirates’ markets.

Now, Etihad intends to refocus and will go with the 787 as their primary equipment of choice for long-haul routes and intends to make the Boeing 787 Dreamliner the “backbone” of its fleet.

This is saddening because I’ve experienced the Etihad A380s in all classes except The Residence, and I was looking forward to getting back in their A380 aircraft after this is all over.

a bed with a tv above it
Etihad A380 Apartments


Etihad might not have their A380 aircraft flying again under the Etihad name as the airline is now refocussing to work with the 787 aircraft as the backbone of their fleet. That means some great aircraft will not be flying again because the demand is not there at this point.

Have you flown the Etihad A380 aircraft? How did you like it?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. While its always sad to see a plane retire, I wont be disappointed to see the back of the A380. Hideously ugly aircraft. By my username you can see I prefer the 747 🙂

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