Etihad Airways’ third Airbus A380 has returned from storage, flying back to the airline’s hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The double-decker aircraft, registered as A6-APH, departed its storage location at Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees Airport (LDE), France, on June 21, 2023, arriving at AUH six hours later following a six-hour flight. A6-APH is the third Airbus A380 aircraft that Etihad Airways has restored so far.
Previously, the airline brought back the Airbus registered as A6-APG in March 2023, while in May 2023, A6-API left LDE toward Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport (XMN), China. Both aircraft are currently undergoing maintenance, according to ch-aviation.com data.
In December 2022, Etihad Airways announced that it would bring back four aircraft of the type to fly exclusively between AUH and London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Prior to the breakout of COVID-19, the airline’s A380 fleet measured 10 units, all of which are still owned by Etihad Airways, ch-aviation.com data shows.
The quartet is equipped with the airline’s most luxurious offerings, namely The Residence, an apartment within an aircraft. Only available on the Airbus A380, the option is superior to First Class and Business Class. The Residence includes a dedicated meal service, a twin-sized bed and a shower, as well as a premium service in the air, in addition to benefits available to customers prior to departure.
Etihad Airways plans to relaunch commercial flights with the Airbus A380 on July 15, 2023, with daily flights being offered on the Super Jumbo between AUH and LHR.
The Emirati carrier is not the only airline in the region, or indeed the world, to have brought the type back to service. While Emirates remained loyal and operated the A380 even during lockdown peaks, other airlines, including British Airways, Lufthansa, Qantas and Qatar Airways have since brought back the aircraft to service.
In total, there are 133 Airbus A380s active with nine airlines at the moment, according to ch-aviation.com data. The list of airlines includes Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA), Asiana Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines.