Etihad Airways has returned its Airbus A380 aircraft to service after more than three years of the type being grounded.
An Etihad Airways Airbus A380, registered as A6-APG, landed at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 6:42 am local time (UTC +1) on July 25, 2023. The flight marked the return of the type to the airline’s fleet, which grounded all its superjumbos in March 2020.
The Airbus A380 departed LHR at 10:42 am local time (UTC +1) and is scheduled to return to Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) at 8:00 pm local time (UTC +4), according to flightradar2.com.
A6-APG is the first of the four A380s Etihad Airways will bring back to service over the next few months. Another double-decker, registered as A6-API, returned to AUH from Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN), China, after heavy maintenance, with the aircraft now having completed several test flights from and to AUH.
Meanwhile, A6-APH flew from Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees Airport (LDE) to AUH on June 21, 2023, and has not been active on the radar since. Lastly, A6-APJ flew from Teruel Airport (TEV), Spain to XMN to undergo heavy maintenance at the Chinese site on July 11, 2023.
Etihad Airways announced the return of four of its Airbus A380s in December 2022. At the time, the airline said that it will use the double-deckers exclusively on flights to and from LHR, citing customer demand for flights to the British capital during the summer season.
It remains unclear whether the remaining six will be brought back to service anytime soon.
Still, the four that return will offer unprecedented luxury on board, with Etihad Airways offering The Residence, an apartment within the Airbus A380, to its customers flying to and from LHR.
According to the Emirati airline, the suite has a dedicated bedroom with a double-sized bed, shower, dedicated catering services, and other benefits offered only to the passengers who choose the most luxurious option.