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Etihad brings back its A380 fleet, along with The Residence apartment

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After much speculation, Etihad has confirmed it is bringing back part of its A380 fleet next year.

It is further evidence of just how well travel is recovering from the pandemic, as Etihad initially grounded all 10 super-jumbos at the start of the pandemic. The company line back in 2020 was that this was permanent, and they would not be returning.

Fortunately, this has proven not to be the case. Etihad will bring back at least four next year to fly, exclusively, the London to Abu Dhabi route. The first is expected to be bookable from March for travel from mid July.

Etihad A380 fleet returns on London to Abu Dhabi route

The news also means that Etihad is bringing back its First Class product. Whilst Etihad has unveiled a number of new business class seats recently, none are a match for The Residence and First Apartments you can find on the A380s.

There is one Residence on each A380 plus nine First Apartments. 70 Business Studios and 485 economy seats make up the remainder of the double-decker aircraft. Our last review of the First Apartment was in 2017.

Intriguingly, the press release implies that The Residence – which is effectively a living room and bedroom – will not be sold separately but will be offered as an ‘add on’ to First Class passengers. There is no indication of how this would work but it would solve the problem of having to rebuild Etihad’s booking system to accommodate The Residence as a stand-alone product.

(Virgin Atlantic has done something similar with the two larger seats on its new A330neo Upper Class. Instead of selling them separately, Upper Class customers will be emailed before departure and offered a paid upgrade for – I believe – around £200 each way.)

The A380s also feature The Lobby, an onboard bar/lounge for First and Business Class customers.

Hopefully we can take another look at this magnificent aircraft in 2023. If you are interested in flying it using frequent flyer miles, this HfP article shows you how to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards.

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (May 2024)

Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (20)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Michael says:

    Small correction (clarification) regarding EY A380: March is only when The Residence will be made available for booking (unless I got it wrong, from the start of NS23). Otherwise, in terms of rEIS (based on the most recent GDS update a few days ago), A380 will be flying EY011 / EY012 from 15JUL23 and EY019 / EY020 from 01AUG23.

  • Mark says:

    Does the Virgin points offer extend to Miles Booster? I don’t have any upcoming flights, but do within the past 6 months.

  • Freddy says:

    Are these boosters in preparation for a devaluation

  • ADS says:

    Most operators say that a subfleet of around 10 aircraft is needed for it to be economical. If the A380 works on the Heathrow route for Etihad, maybe they will gradually bring back a few more for other routes?

    • Blenz101 says:

      It works at slot constrained airports where there is a critical mass of passengers. Not sure wheee else they would find a use.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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