The fleet of ten Airbus A380 aircraft of Etihad Airways disappeared from the airline’s booking site until at least September 2021.
The superjumbos have been grounded since March 2020, due to the drop in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike Air France, which announced the definitive retirement of its A380 fleet in May 2020, no final decision has been made yet at Etihad, according to the CEO of the Gulf airline Tony Douglas.
However, it appears that the aircraft will not fly from Abu Dhabi until at least the winter season of 2021. “During this period, Etihad’s 10 Airbus A380s will remain grounded, until demand grows and there is sufficient appetite to reassess their viability,” a spokesman for Etihad Airways told the Executive Traveller.
Prior to the crisis, the Airbus giants were previously deployed on routes towards Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), London-Heathrow (LHR), New York-John F. Kennedy (JFK), Seoul-Incheon (ICN), and Sydney (SYD). Those routes will now be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, with the exception of Australia, where a Boeing 777-300ER will be used.
Etihad has pending orders for more widebodies, including 15 A350-1000, six 777-9, and one of each 787-9 and 787-10 that have yet to be delivered.
Three operators have already resumed the operation of the A380: Emirates Airlines and China Southern Airlines (ZNH) , as well as Korean Air. Others have found alternative ways to generate revenue using the superjumbos. By the end of October 2020, Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) will offer a “memorable dining experience” in one of its A380s parked in Changi Airport (SIN).