Etihad wants to keep its A380s flying “until at least 2032”

The Gulf carrier says the superlative superjumbo still has a future…

By David Flynn, May 30 2024
Etihad wants to keep its A380s flying “until at least 2032”

Etihad Airways expects its A380s to be flying into the next decade, with the Gulf carrier joining Emirates and Qantas in keeping the double-decker jets in the skies well beyond 2030.

That’s good news for high flyers who enjoy Etihad’s A380 Studio business class seats, but doubly so for the spacious private first class Apartment suites.

Etihad's A380s offer nine first class Apartment suites.
Etihad's A380s offer nine first class Apartment suites.

Of course, the first class experience moves into a new realm of luxury with the opulent three-room Residence, which boasts its own living room, bedroom and shower-equipped bathroom.

The Residence is now offered to A380 first class flyers as the ultimate upgrade.
The Residence is now offered to A380 first class flyers as the ultimate upgrade.

Any passenger in Etihad’s A380 first class can upgrade to The Residence using money or points: on the popular Abu Dhabi-London route, you’re looking at around $3,000 or 300,000 Etihad Guest Miles.

The Residence is almost a private jet experience.
The Residence is almost a private jet experience.

Speaking with Aerotelegraph, Etihad Airways CEO Antonoaldo Neves said he intended to keep his A380s flying “for as long as they can. They will be flying at least until 2032.”

However, he sounded a note of caution regarding the “market conditions” needed to support the big four-engine plane.

“The good thing is, Etihad has a very strong balance sheet (and) 65% of our planes are owned. So if the market conditions change and deteriorate, we can always park planes without incurring leasing costs.”

Launched in 2014, the A380 showcased how former Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan intended to “reimagine” the airline as a high-end competitor to neighbour Emirates.

While The Residence was an aspirational halo product for Etihad, its Apartment suites – with a seperate armchair and bed, alongside a mini-bar and vanity cabinet – easily bested the first-generation offerings of superjumbo launch customers Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

Etihad's spacious and well-appointed first class Apartment suites.
Etihad's spacious and well-appointed first class Apartment suites.

Neves expects Etihad’s A380s and its Boeing 777s to eventually be replaced by either the Airbus A350-1000 or the Boeing 777X, although he confirmed the airline has scrapped its order for 25 of the next-gen 777X series.

“The contracts we have were all restructured. So today I don’t have any firm commitment for the 777X. I have the option to buy those planes, but I also have the option to buy more 787s.”

“We have a great relationship with Boeing,” he added, “but as for now the 777X doesn’t play any role in our five-year plan.”

Also read: How the A380 almost had a split-level first class ‘loft’ suite

13 Sep 2022

Total posts 10

I hope the A380 returns to Sydney. It sure seems likely.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 234

$3000 for 1/2 the day sounds like a very low ROI for the airline  - for so much extra floor space and the soft product upgrade in tow - it’s a great deal for the traveller 🧳 

12 Aug 2022

Total posts 10

Would love to see the A380 return to Sydney, the 777 is looking very tired from front to back!


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