The Airbus A380 has undoubtedly been one of the hardest-hit aircraft from the current global situation. Airlines such as Air France have already retired the aircraft and others such as Lufthansa and Qatar seem to cast doubt on the future of the plane in their fleet.
It seems though that Etihad could be retiring the A380 very soon, and there are several clues that point to the retirement from the Etihad fleet for the aircraft.
The first clue that shows a possible retirement of the aircraft comes from Etihad’s website, specifically their fleet page.
Currently, Etihad operates the Airbus A320, Airbus A380, Boeing 787, and Boeing 777 family of aircraft. However, when looking at their fleet page the A380 is now absent from the list.
As you can see, no mention of the A380 anywhere on the page.
The second clue that point’s to the retirement of the A380 from Etihad once again come’s from the website of the airline. This time, when looking at their onboard cabin section, the area which previously mentioned “The Residence”, Etihad’s ultra-premium first class suite exclusive to the A380 fleet is gone.
Similar to the fleet page, a key part of the A380 is gone from the cabin section.
The third clue to the retirement of the A380 again come’s from their website. Previously, when looking at fares on the routes that the aircraft flew on, you would be able to see the price of the Residence during the booking process. Now however, the highest class of service shown are the First Class “Apartments” compared to the previously mentioned Residence.
The aforementioned Residence, which may be leaving Etihad with the A380
The fourth and final clue that lead’s to the possible retirement is a statement from the CEO of Etihad Airways, Tony Douglas.
In an interview, he stated:
“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.”
Of course, this seems obvious due to the current situation, however 6 months prior to this he was quoted as saying the following in regards to the A380 before the airline had made a choice regarding the future of the aircraft:
“So, everybody loves the A380. It’s resounding. You know, the product that it presents, and the grace in which it does so. It was, for such a long time the pinnacle, the industry leader. The question as to whether they’ll ever fly again, to be equally direct about it, I’d say the jury’s out.
I think it’s heavily handicapped by two engines too many, and other aircraft that can do the job far more efficiently, far more sustainably. So I’m not trying to rule out the A380, it would break my heart even more to do so at this stage. But in the same way that 747s have finally been retired pretty much everywhere, I think we’re probably going to see now an acceleration of the same with the global A380 fleet.”
Based on all of the evidence above, it seems that the future of the aircraft for Etihad is not promising, although we do not know how well the global situation will change, it seems extremely likely that the A380 and Etihad Airways are parting ways. Arguably, this was the aircraft that brought the airline into the spotlight, so it’s retirement from the fleet will definitely have an affect on Etihad in the future.