The first of Etihad’s four Airbus A380s returns to the skies on the Abu Dhabi-London Heathrow route, with the aims of freeing up capacity for increased frequencies on existing routes and the launch of new destinations.
Etihad was preparing the aircraft to fly again in 2022, which involved the recruiting and training of A380 teams comprised of pilots, cabin crew and technical ground employees.
Etihad Airways CEO Antonoaldo Neves emphasised how this announcement will allow the airline to expand its network: “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.
“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.”
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Etihad stated the decision comes in response to an increase in demand for air travel across the airline’s network, as well as consumer comments requesting the restoration of one of the most “remarkable” commercial flying experiences in the sky.
According to Airbus, the A380 has flown over 800,000 flights, carrying more than 300 million passengers since its entry into service.
The A380 features two full-length decks and carries up to 853 passengers, making it the largest commercial aircraft in the skies.
Etihad’s cabin includes the Residence as well as three cabin classes on the double-decker aircraft, including nine first apartments, 70 business studios and 405 economy smart seats.
The Residence is claimed as the only three-room suite in the air in the world, with customers able to benefit from the service and hospitality provided by a committed group of Etihad cabin staff.