Etihad’s newly-delivered A350-1000 aircraft are being put into storage rather than entering service, the airline has confirmed.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier told aviation website Simple Flying and confirmed to Business Traveller it would “re-time the entry into service of five new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft as part of its ongoing business transformation plan.”
Simple Flying notes that Etihad’s first A350 left the Airbus paint shop in June, after which it was taken to a warehouse in Bordeaux. This was followed by its second delivery in mid-July and third at the end of August.
It seems that while its remaining two A350 deliveries will also head to storage, the aircraft will eventually enter the Etihad fleet. Its statement continues:
“The Airbus A350 remains an important part of Etihad’s future fleet and network strategy.
“A decision on introduction date will be made as part of the airline’s broader strategy planning.”
Etihad officially cancelled an order for 42 A350s in March (40 of the -900 model and two of the -1000).
The airline is in the midst of a five-year ‘transformation programme’ that aims to make it profitable, which has seen route rationalisation, the removal of premium chauffeur drive services at international destinations, the introduction of buy-on-board choices, the launch of a new Economy Space seating option, and the outsourcing of selected lounges to No1 Lounges.
It reported a loss of just under US$1.3 billion for its core airline operations in 2018, an improvement of 15 per cent on 2017, when it lost $1.52 billion.
It owned a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways, which went bankrupt earlier this year. The collapse meant Etihad added a fourth daily service to Abu Dhabi out of London Heathrow, taking over the slot it had leased to Jet.
Etihad also owned a 29 per cent stake in Air Berlin, which went bankrupt in 2017.