Of their 10 Airbus A380 superjumbos, Mr Douglas 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 is indeed sad as Etihad was one of the last major carriers to receive the A380, from Dec 2014 to 2017. Etihad's A380 is much younger and arguably fitted out with the best luxury cabins. The retirement of the Etihad A380 means that two of the most sought-after premium cabins in the skies, The Residence and First Class Apartment, are now disappearing.
I flew the Etihad A380 in The Residence a total of three times. There is no other product in a commercial airline like it. It has a three room (living room, bedroom and bathroom) concept allowing up to two persons to travel inside.
- In Dec 2016, from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai (paid $3,000)
- In July 2017, from Abu Dhabi to Paris - inaugural A380 to Paris (paid $7,000)
- In July 2019, from Abu Dhabi to Seoul Incheon - inaugural A380 to Incheon (Invited)
I feel particularly sad that such a luxurious A380 has become a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. I still fondly remember my first time on Etihad A380. It was also the first time I made a vlog that got over 20 million views!
Etihad A380 First Class is also arguably the best First Class out there. With just 9 suites all with a separate seat and bed. The middle suite can also be converted into a double bed, making for a double suite style experience. Best of all, Etihad offered some great redemption opportunities for frequent flyers.
Etihad's A380 is the only A380 apart from Emirates that offers onboard shower in The Residence and First Class. Etihad's A380 operated to London Heathrow, Paris, Sydney, New York JFK and Seoul Incheon before COVID pandemic.
Etihad to become a Mid-Size Carrier
Etihad plans to operate as a mid-sized carrier, building their operations around smaller twin-engine aircraft, focusing on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as the "backbone" of their fleet. At the end of 2020, the airline was operating flights to 50 passenger and seven cargo destinations from Abu Dhabi, representing approximately 35% of their pre-Covid capacity.
“It’s one of those where you segment how you fight your way through 2021-2022 and we’d do that with the 787s predominantly” Etihad CEO Tony Douglas said.
The chief executive also said that besides their 40 B787 Dreamliners, Etihad will also deploy 12 Airbus A350s from 2023. Some of their A350's are currently still parked.