Etihad Is Next Major Airline To Ground The Airbus A380

Following the drop in demand and travel bans caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, various airlines have grounded several of their Airbus A380 aircraft. Now, it appears that Etihad Airways won’t fly the widebody through June 30th.

Etihad A380
Etihad has become the last firm to ground its A380s. Photo: Getty Images

Important routes

One Mile At A Time reports that the UAE-based carrier has taken the plane out of its routes for the next few months. It usually flies the jet to London, New York, Paris, Seoul, and Sydney. However, schedules don’t show the A380 as part of these operations for the time being.

So which other models will now be used on these services?

  • On the London route, the jet is being replaced by a combination of Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 aircraft.
  • The New York flights will now be flown by a 777-300ER.
  • Those flying to Paris will be on a mix of 787-10s and 777-300ERs.
  • Seoul will be solely operated by a 787-10.
  • The Sydney trips will only be flown by a 777-300ER.

Big changes

Even though those traveling on these replacements will still be able to have a first class option (select 787-9s and 777-300ERs have first class seats), there is an important aspect missing. The grounding of the A380 means that Etihad won’t be able to offer “The Residence,” for now. This a three-room suite with butler service at the front of the A380’s upper deck.

Etihad A380
The A380 offers the opportunity to dish out a premium experience. Photo: Getty Images

Etihad holds 10 of the world’s largest passenger airliners within its fleet. The first one of these arrived in Abu Dhabi in 2014 while the last one was delivered in 2017. Despite only operating them for around half a decade, the airline already has to park the jets.

Nonetheless, the reasons for the grounding is because of extraordinary circumstances. The coronavirus outbreak has forced the majority of the world’s airlines to amend their operations in one way or the other.

In fact, Etihad managed to hold out the decision to temporarily drop its A380s just after its fellow UAE carrier Emirates made the call to ground some of its units. Last week, the Dubai outfit dropped 20 of the planes. Altogether, it operates 115 of them and there are plans to keep cutting them from services while the pandemic continues to escalate.

Etihad A380
There haven’t been many passengers flying on the A380 as of late due the virus outbreak. Photo: Getty

Industry issues

With Etihad fully grounding its A380 aircraft, it is in company with the following airlines:

  • Air France
  • China Southern
  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways

Along with Emirates, other airlines to still operate at least some of their A380s are:

  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways

However, with the pandemic continuing to disrupt the aviation industry, more carriers are likely to be forced to ground even more of their aircraft.

Simple Flying reached out to Etihad for comment on the groundings but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What are your thoughts on how airlines are continuing to ground their Airbus A380 aircraft? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comment section.