A multitude of airlines have ditched various aircraft from their fleet lately, thereby, shrinking their fleet size, as they try to get back on feet with minimal expenses after the COVID-19 cataclysm. Airlines like Lufthansa have retired almost all their quad-engine jets. However, not all carriers have bid goodbyes to the jumbo jets in their fleet! Etihad Airways has promised that the superjumbo – Airbus A380 – will fly for it again, and that it has no plans to bid adieu to its flagship Airbus. While most airlines have cancelled new aircraft orders, Etihad has also confirmed that it remains committed to the delivery of the Airbus A350-1000.
As of now, all ten Airbus A380s of Etihad are grounded. However, the airline remains positive that these aircraft are still ‘assets’, and not ‘liabilities’. In a couple months from now, when air travel is expected to start gradually, Etihad speculates that these superjumbos will serve the airline profitably.
An Etihad spokesperson stated:
‘The Airbus A380 remains an important part of the Etihad fleet and is well suited to a number of key routes, which are planned to be gradually reintroduced once international restrictions are lifted, and global travel picks up’
Currently, Etihad also has 20 A350-1000s on order, the first of which were to be delivered to the carrier last year. However, these orders have been delayed. As of now, the carrier stays positive to accept the delivery of remaining jets. In a report, the airline stated:
‘Etihad is committed to the delivery of its future fleet of Airbus A350-1000s, so much that it has selected the routes to be operated by this aircraft.’
Amidst all the news of various airlines cancelling new aircraft orders and scrapping jets from their fleet, this news is welcome contrast! While it would be important for every carrier to preserve cash in the uncertain times that would follow the pandemic, it is indeed surprising, and yet, quite surreal, to see that Etihad has no plans to sit back.
The A380s will continue to fly. The A350s will continue to be delivered. Long live Etihad!