The first recently reactivated Etihad Airways Airbus A380 superjumbo jet was spotted in Spain on January 30, 2023, with fans of the Airbus A380 model and curious planespotters watching the airline’s first double-decker depart Teruel Airport (TEV) in Spain where it had been stored for a while.
The 7.2-year-old A380-800 jet, registered A6-APG, took off from TEV airport at around 9.54 a.m. (UTC) and touched down at Tarbes–Lourdes (LDE) in France after an hour and a half of flight, the aircraft’s flight history indicates.
According to the Planespotters.com registry, the superjumbo jet had been removed from active service by Etihad Airways in March 2020 after the Abu Dhabi-based air carrier experienced financial pressure due to lack of passenger demand during the pandemic. The giant aircraft was moved for long-term storage in Spain in April 2021.
However, in late December 2022, the airline announced plans to bring four of its Airbus A380 aircraft back into service in response to rising demand for air travel throughout its destination network.
The airline indicated that the first A380 would be back in action by summer 2023. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the carrier had 10 units of superjumbos. Now Etihad Airways plans to shuttle its A380s, including the newly reactivated A6-APG, between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
The four aircraft will be equipped with the airline’s most luxurious cabin classes, including The Residence. According to the carrier, each of the double-decker jets comes equipped with nine apartments, 70 Business studios, and 405 Economy Smart seats, 80 of which 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 a bar area between the two classes on the second floor of the Airbus A380.