LONDON – The resurgence of the Airbus A380 continues as Etihad announced this week the reinstatement of the type for the Summer 2023 season.
Etihad will reintroduce four of its A380s in time for the busy period, with the understanding that all four will be allocated to the Abu Dhabi-Heathrow rotation.
On top of this, Etihad will be adding five of its smaller A320 aircraft to help support the network with other routes in the network.
It is also understood that the airline is currently preparing the aircraft to fly again, with there requiring preparation in terms of recruitment & training of A380 teams.
His Excellency Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group, commented on this milestone for the airline:
“It is wonderful to announce the return of this splendid aircraft.”
“The A380’s reintroduction provides a further boost to Etihad’s capacity into the key UK market, with a knock-on effect for the wider GCC and Indian subcontinent that will bring more visitors to the city of Abu Dhabi.”
Adding to this was Antonoaldo Neves, the CEO of Etihad, who verbally welcomed the aircraft back into service in the Summer:
“We know this will be welcomed by our guests who love Etihad’s incredible A380 and its award-winning cabins.”
“We have decided the time is right to return some of our A380s into the fleet to satisfy the demand which has made them financially viable once more.”
“We look forward to welcoming our guests again on board this remarkable aircraft.”
The Etihad A380 Layout…
According to the airline, the A380 return means saying welcome once again to The Residence, which was at the time a game-changer to ultra-premium travel.
There will be nine of these apartments onboard, followed by 70 business class seats and 405 Economy Smart seats too.
Of the 405 Economy Smart seats, 80 will be Economy Space, offering a seat pitch of up to 36 inches.
This will no doubt apply some pressure onto competitors such as Emirates & Qatar Airways in terms of the product offerings themselves.
The A380 & Its New Lease of Life…
Given the uptick in travel demand at the moment, this is encouraging a new lease of life in the Airbus A380.
Earlier this month, Lufthansa’s first A380 came out of storage in Teruel and headed back to Frankfurt am Main International Airport to prepare for long-term maintenance and, therefore, a return to commercial service.
We have also seen the likes of Qatar Airways upgrading existing routes using the A380, more notably on the Perth service, as announced back in September.
Finally, Singapore Airlines has also taken the same liberty as Qatar Airways by adding A380 services to the destinations it serves across Australia.
It remains clear that this resurgence of the A380 has definitely scuppered a load of critics’ perspectives on the aircraft never returning to commercial service.
Looking ahead, it’s going to be interesting to see how many more A380s get reactivated and utilized in the future and whether this could shake some heads over at Airbus about a further return to superjumbo travel.
Because, after all, Emirates is definitely more than interested.