Etihad To Retire Final Airbus A330-300 by The End Of August

Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways is set to retire its last two active A330-300s by the end of August 2019.

Etihad to retire its last two A330-300s. Photo: Wikimedia

An Etihad Airways Airbus A330-300, flight number EY88, will make its last passenger flight on August 31, 2019, from Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) to Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

This is according to CH-Aviation who also report that the Gulf carrier is still currently operating two Airbus A330-300 aircraft registration numbers A6-AFA and the A6-AFB. One of its other remaining A330-300s A6-AFD has been parked at Abu Dhabi International Airport since June, while three others are parked up at Teruel Airport in eastern Spain.

Why are Etihad Airways retiring the Airbus A330-300?

Etihad Airways only ever had five Airbus A330-300s, the first of which went into service in 2014.

Etihad A330-300s had the lowest seat density of any commercial A330-300. Photo; Wikimedia

At the time Etihad Airways were promoting their new seating configurations of first, business and economy class cabins.

While the Airbus A330 could be configured to carry 300 passengers, a coincidence given its name, Etihad chose to only deploy 203 seats. This gave Etihad’s A330-300 the lowest overall seating density of any A330-300 in commercial service.

The Etihad A330-300s had 12 seats in first class, 40 in business class and 151 in economy class. At the time of its delivery Airlines and Destinations website reported that Etihad Airways’ chief executive James Hogan said,

“The delivery of a new aircraft is a great moment for an airline, but the new A330-300 is special for Etihad because it is the first time our customers can experience our new product in all three cabins.”

What is Etihad Airways going to replace its Airbus A330-300s with?

Back in February of this year, Etihad Airways restructured its orders with Airbus and Boeing after going on a spending spree in 2013.

Etihad A330-300
Etihad is taking delivery of six Boeing 777-9s. Photo: Wikimedia

In a statement carried by Reuters, the airline said that it was committed to taking delivery of five Airbus A350-1000s and 26 A321neos plus six Boeing 777-9s. While not commenting on the aircraft they no longer wanted Etihad said,

“[The] balance of the remaining orders will be defined at a later time through rescheduling, restructuring or reduction.”

Regarding the airline’s order with Boeing for 71 787 Dreamliners, so far 28 have been delivered. Etihad did not comment the rest of the order other than saying they continue to take delivery.

Etihad made bad investments

The airline’s announcement follows a lengthy review after it piled billions of dollars into a failed strategy of buying minority stakes in failing airlines. Etihad Airways made a series of bad investments, hoping to turn around these struggling carriers to compete with the world’s major airline groups.

After posting losses of over $3 billion, long-term boss, James Hogan left the airline and was replaced by Tony Douglas.

The former Abu Dhabi Airport boss now plans to turn things around by concentrating on flying passengers to and from Abu Dhabi, rather than trying to compete against other major airlines.