Etihad Doesn’t Look Set To Return To Los Angeles Post Pandemic

Etihad has said goodbye to a lot of things because of the global health crisis. It seems fairly certain now that its Airbus A380s won’t return. Its Boeing 777 jets are due to leave the airline by the end of this year as well. And it now appears that its service to Los Angeles also won’t be returning once travel conditions improve.

Etihad Doesn’t Look Set To Return To Los Angeles Post Pandemic
Prior to the stop in service, Etihad’s AUH-LAX route had been operated by Boeing 777-300ERs. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons 

One of Etihad’s longest services

With a flight time sometimes pushing 16.5 hours, Etihad’s Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Los Angeles (LAX) service was its longest flight to North America and one of the longest in the world.

The flight, EY171/170, was unfortunately suspended due to the global health crisis- not having flown on a regular basis since March 2020. The service had a few one-offs since the onset of the crisis- operating twice in April of 2020 and two more times in July of 2020. Data from indicates that it also flew once in January 2021. All of these services had utilized Etihad’s now-retired Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Now, according to One Mile At A Time, Etihad doesn’t have plans to restore its LAX route, even as travel conditions seem to be improving in the United States. The website points out that the airline isn’t selling flights to Los Angeles through its booking engine- and in fact, the city has been removed from Etihad’s destinations page, as can be seen in the screenshot below.

Etihad Doesn’t Look Set To Return To Los Angeles Post Pandemic
Etihad’s online route map excludes Los Angeles as a destination. Photo: Etihad

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Post-pandemic Etihad

Etihad will be a much different airline after the pandemic. Before the global health crisis, the airline operated a fleet of 10 Airbus A380s- jets that had some of the most luxurious suites in the skies. However, speaking in April at the World Aviation Festival, airline CEO Tony Douglas said that the type was no longer seen as a commercially viable prospect, saying:

“Sadly for us, as the pandemic came into play … we made the decision to park our 10 A380s, which are a wonderful product, something I really enjoyed. Nonetheless, they are no longer commercially sustainable. So we have taken the difficult decision to park those machines up indefinitely.”

At the same event, Douglas added that the airline’s Boeing 777-300ERs would also be leaving the fleet. The CEO commented that this would take place “at the end of this year.” Etihad has 19 777-300ERs in its fleet today, all delivered to the airline between 2006 and 2014. The Airbus A350-1000 will cover some of the capacity once handled by the 777s.

Etihad Doesn’t Look Set To Return To Los Angeles Post Pandemic
Etihad’s 777-300ERs will be leaving the fleet sometime in 2021. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

One less US destination

As One Mile At A Time points out, the end of Los Angeles operations would make it the third US route lost in recent years. The airline had previously also flown to Dallas-Fort Worth and San Francisco. However, these routes were cut due to a lack of profitability.

As can be seen on the airline’s destination’s map, it still intends to operate service to three US cities: Chicago, New York, and Washington. The airline also lists Toronto as its only Canadian destination.

Etihad Doesn’t Look Set To Return To Los Angeles Post Pandemic
Etihad’s Los Angeles service covered a distance of 8,340 miles or 13,422km. Photo:

While the airline may be giving up ground to its fellow premium Middle Eastern competitors, Etihad’s decision to cut unprofitable routes should allow it to regroup and refocus its efforts on destinations where it is more likely to succeed.

What do you think of Etihad ending its LAX service? Is this a smart move? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.