With destinations in the Middle East hotting up, more and more airlines are looking to branch into this region. Boeing predicts that nearly 3,000 new aircraft will be needed in the Middle East in the next 20 years to manage the demand, so you could expect that Middle Eastern airlines are getting prepared for the future with sustainable fleets.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways flies one of the most advanced fleets in the sky. In line with this, it recently retired the final four of its remaining A340s.
A look at Etihad’s A340 aircraft
At one time, Etihad owned 12 Airbus A340; one -300 series, four -500 series and seven -600 series, according to Air Fleets. It was one of the airlines’ least numerous fleets, along with its A321 and A380 fleets.
It acquired its first A340 15 years ago in 2004; a -300 series which was registered as A6-EYC. Being the first to enter the fleet, A6-EYC was also retired the soonest, flying just five years before going back to its leasing company Hi Fly in 2009.
Midway through, A6-EYC’s lifetime, Etihad acquired all four of its -500 series aircraft. This was in 2006 between June and December. Three of the aircraft: A6-EHB, A6-EHC and A6-EHD, remain stored with the airline after they were taken out of service between 2016 and 2017.
A6-EHA was in service between June 2006 and October 2015, after which it was stored for less than a year and given to the Italian Air Force. The Italian Air Force had the aircraft in operation for under two years before it was stored in June 2018.
Etihad’s -600 series
The -600 series of A340 was Etihad’s most numerous fleet, totaling seven aircraft.
Three of this aircraft model were acquired in 2007, operating until 2017. According to CH-Aviation, 2017 was a big year for Etihad and its Airbus. It reported that, as well as the -500 series being axed, its A330-300 and A340-600 would also follow suit.
All of the -600 series were taken out of operation in 2017, but not all the aircraft left Etihad. Four remained until this year; A6-EHK until May and the other three this month. A6-EHI, A6-EHJ and A6-EHL were then given to Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas where they are due to start operations this year. The final aircraft: A6-EHK, was given to Maleth Aero in Malta.
The -600 series services are now being operated by Etihad’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The airline’s current fleet
Etihad currently has a fleet of 114 aircraft, including 30 Boeing 787s and 10 Airbus A380. It recently received some of the latest Airbus aircraft; five of the brand-new A350-1000. But as soon as they arrived, the airline took them into storage in Bordeaux for reintegration in the fleet at a later date.
Despite this potential setback, Etihad’s development plans are set to continue as the airline recently launched a fourth daily service to Heathrow. So with these route plans in the works, it looks like it won’t take long for the airline to start putting its new A350-1000 into operation.
Did you fly on Etihad’s Airbus A340s? How do you think Etihad’s current fleet shapes up? Let us know in the comments!