UAE national carrier Etihad Airways said on Sunday its fleet of Airbus superjumbo A380s will remain grounded as part of a strategy to become ‘a mid-sized carrier by operating only twin-engine wide body aircraft until a rebound in demand happens.
An Etihad spokesperson said as the airline continues ‘to focus on recovery and rebuilding its global network, it will continue to rely on the efficiencies and advantages of its twin engine, wide-body aircraft.
‘As Etihad continues to focus on recovery and rebuilding our global network, we will continue to rely on the efficiencies and advantages of our twin engine, wide-body aircraft. During this period, Etihad’s 10 A380s will remain grounded, unless the demand grows and there is sufficient appetite to reassess their viability, the spokesperson said. Etihad has a fleet of 10 Airbus 380-800 aircraft that have been out of service since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Earlier, in an internal memo, the carrier has reportedly told the cabin that they would be notified by e-mail about whether they were being furloughed. In October, the airline indicated that it would be revamping its operating model into a mid-sized airline that is ‘leaner, flatter and scalable to support organic growth as air travel resumes in the wake of the pandemic.
Last month, Etihad removed its Airbus A380 fleet from its flight schedule indefinitely. Previously, it has only been removing A380s from the schedule a month or two in advance. However, the A380s have now disappeared from Etihad’s flight schedules for the next 11 months. Etihad operated its A380s on crucial routes. However, the airline’s schedule, which shows flights up to September 2021, indicates that all destinations usually served by the A380 will be operated by 787-9s.
Recently, Tony Douglas group chief executive officer of Etihad, said as a responsible business, the airline can no longer continue to incrementally adapt to a marketplace that it believes has changed for the foreseeable future. ‘That is why we are taking definitive and decisive action to adjust our business and position ourselves proudly as a mid-sized carrier.
‘The first stage of this is an operational model change that will see us restructure our senior leadership team and our organization to allow us to continue delivering on our mandate, ensuring long-term sustainability, and contributing to the growth and prominence of Abu Dhabi.
‘By embedding the new structure, the airline will strengthen its focus on its core offering of safety, security, service; continue developing its industry-leading health and hygiene programme Etihad Wellness; and prioritise innovation and sustainability, which are essential to the future of the airline, Douglas had said.