After COVID-19 flight restrictions left 80% of its fleet grounded, Etihad Airways embarked on what it calls the most extensive aircraft maintenance program in the 17 years of the airline’s operations. 

Etihad Airways operates a fleet of 96 passenger aircraft, 65 of which are currently grounded, planespotters.net data indicates. In addition, the airline also has six Boeing 777 freighters, all of them still operating. 

Hoping to use the current inactivity time productively and avoid aircraft grounding for maintenance once its commercial passenger services are resumed, Etihad Airways has turned to the group’s MRO division, Etihad Engineering, the airline said on April 16, 2020. 

The carrier outlined that 96 of its planes, presumably the whole passenger aircraft fleet, are undergoing maintenance. This includes 29 Airbus A320 and A321s, 10 Airbus A380s, 38 Boeing 787s, and 19 Boeing 777-300ERs.

The works done on the planes range from smaller maintenance tasks, such as seat repairs and updates to Inflight Entertainment Systems, all the way to bringing forward scheduled engine changes and modifications on several aircraft. 

The passenger airline, while still operating a small portion of passenger flights, mostly repatriating foreign citizens out of the UAE, is planning to resume some of its scheduled passenger services from May 1 to June 30, 2020. However, the plans remain subject to UAE government imposed travel restrictions being lifted on passenger travel.