Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based carrier Etihad Airways has announced plans to bring four of its Airbus A380 aircraft back into service, in response to demand for air travel throughout its destination network.
The airline indicated that the first of the planned four A380s would be back in action by summer 2023. Prior to the breakout of COVID-19, it had 10 units, all of which are now stored at either Spain’s Teruel Airport (TEV) or Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport (LDE) in France. The aircraft were moved to TEV or LDE at various points through 2021.
Now Etihad Airways plans to shuttle its A380s between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
Most luxurious A380s
The four aircraft that Etihad is bringing back will be equipped with the most luxurious of the airline’s cabin classes, including The Residence.
According to the carrier, each of the double-decker jets come equipped with nine apartments, 70 Business studios and 405 Economy Smart seats, of which 80 are Economy Space. The nine apartments are marketed as The Residence: a three-room suite on board an aircraft. The suite has a dedicated bedroom, bathroom and living room. Customers will be able to book The Residence from March 2023. As of October 2023, “all LHR services will offer First Class cabins catering for the more discerning guest”.
Meanwhile, for those travelers seeking a less lavish experience, First Class and Business Class tickets will grant access to The Lobby, a serviced lounge and bar area between the two classes on the second floor of the Airbus A380.
These classes are also present on the airline’s Airbus A380 aircraft that remain in store.
In July 2022, Etihad Airways announced an H1 2022 profit of $296 million, its first positive result in six years. Tony Douglas, the Etihad Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), commented at the time that air travel “came roaring back in 2022”, enabling the airline to improve its results.
Douglas added: “Our results would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of the entire Etihad family, and our focus now is on continuing this momentum into the second half of the year”.