Etihad returns Airbus A380s to service

UAE flag carrier Etihad Airways returned the Airbus A380 to service today (July 25) for the first time since March 2020.

The superjumbo operated flight EY11 from Abu Dhabi to London/Heathrow this morning, landing at the hub around 6.45am local time.

The airline is bringing the A380 back exclusively on this route to the UK and plans to initially operate three out of its four daily connections with the double decker type.

The maiden service was flown today by A6-APG (c/n 198), an eight-year-old example configured to seat 498 passengers in a four-class layout.

Notably, Etihad’s A380s feature its most luxurious facilities including two of The Residence suites, nine First Apartments, and 70 Business Studios. All the premium seating is situated on the upper deck, where passengers can also enjoy The Lobby, a lounge and bar area between the two cabins. The lower deck seating comprises an all-economy layout with 405 seats.

Antonoaldo Neves, chief executive officer, Etihad Airways, said: “We’re excited to once again welcome guests onboard Etihad’s A380s and step into a truly remarkable experience. Whether our guests are choosing to fly in Economy, Business, First or our three-room suite in the sky The Residence, this aircraft provides an elevated flying experience which we take extreme pride in.

Etihad Airways has reintroduced the Airbus A380 into service.
Etihad Airways has reintroduced the Airbus A380 into service. Etihad Airways

“The aircraft adds much needed capacity connecting Abu Dhabi with London/Heathrow and allows us to build our network and increase frequencies across the network. With a surge in demand for travel over the summer, the return of our much-loved A380 comes at the perfect time.”

A6-APG is the first of four A380s the airline is reactivating. Based on flight tracking data, the other airframes are A6-APH (c/n 199), A6-API (c/n 233), A6-APJ (c/n 237).

Etihad has some of the youngest A380s currently in operation. Its average fleet age of eight years is only beaten by Japan’s All Nippon Airways which boasts a pair of active examples with just 4.4 years on the clock.