Etihad Airways remains committed to deliveries of the five Airbus A350-1000 aircraft it has on order. The UAE carrier has already taken delivery of four out of the five aircraft on contract, however, they were each flown straight to storage in Bordeaux just days later.
Last week, reports started to circulate that Etihad could be considering scrapping its Airbus A380 fleet and not taking up any of its Airbus A350-1000 orders. However, Etihad has confirmed that this is very much not the case as things currently stand. Instead, it remains committed to its Airbus A350 order. The airline is also looking to reintroduce its Airbus A380 routes gradually.
What do we know?
Last week there had been rumors circulating that Etihad Airways wouldn’t take delivery of five Airbus A350-1000 aircraft it is expecting. Four of these aircraft have been delivered to the UAE airline on contract. However, they were flown straight to Bordeaux, where they have remained since. The fifth aircraft completed its third flight earlier this month.
Commenting on the future of the Airbus A350-1000 in the Ethiad fleet, an airline spokesperson told Simple Flying:
Etihad is also committed to the delivery of its future fleet of Airbus A350-1000s and has selected the routes to be operated by this aircraft type.
What about the Airbus A380?
Airlines around the world have been reassessing the future of their Airbus A380 fleets as a result of the current crisis. Indeed, Air France has become the first airline to retire its entire fleet. Lufthansa also has accelerated aircraft retirements. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if other airlines were to follow suit.
Last week Reuters reported that unnamed sources had said that Etihad would be one of the airlines looking to retire the A380 early. The airline’s fleet of the giant of the skies has an average age of under five years.
Despite these reports an Etihad spokesperson told Simple Flying:
The Airbus A380 remains an important part of the Etihad fleet and is well suited to a number of key routes, which are planned to be gradually reintroduced once international restrictions are lifted, and global travel picks up.
What’s interesting here is that the airline has said that the routes the A380 are suited to are planned to be gradually reintroduced. However, it doesn’t specifically say that the A380 is to be used on these routes.
It would be astounding if Etihad retired a fleet that was less than half a decade old. However, stranger things have happened since the start of the current crisis. Hopefully, with the airline calling the A380, an important part of the fleet is good news for the aircraft’s fans.
Finally, the airline added that its global network is currently under a periodic review.
Do you think that Etihad will keep the A380? Will it take its Airbus A350 orders? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!