UAE national carrier Etihad Airways has said that it will reintroduce four of its A380s into its fleet starting from the summer of 2023.

Etihad plans to operate the A380s to London Heathrow, freeing up capacity for increased frequencies on existing routes and allowing it to launch new destinations.

The airline said that it is currently preparing the aircraft to fly again, and its preparation process includes the recruitment and training of A380 teams, including pilots, cabin crew and technical ground staff.

“The move follows a surge in demand for air travel across the airline’s network and customer feedback,” the airline said in a statement.

Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The A380’s reintroduction provides a further boost to Etihad’s capacity into the key UK market, with a knock-on effect for the wider GCC and Indian subcontinent that will bring more visitors to the city of Abu Dhabi.”

The A380s’ return will also be supported by the addition of five of their smaller A320 siblings.

Antonoaldo Neves, chief executive officer, Etihad Airways, said: “We have decided the time is right to return some of our A380s into the fleet to satisfy the demand which has made them financially viable once more.” Neves was recently appointed to Etihad Aviation Group, replacing Tony Douglas.

Etihad’s A380s feature 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. This includes 80 Economy Space seats with a seat pitch of up to 36 inches.

The nine First Apartments set across a single-aisle, offer a private living space with a large leather lounge chair and an ottoman which opens up to become a separate 80.5-inch long fully-flat bed. The First Apartment also offers a 24-inch swiveling LCD TV monitor and personal vanity unit. For the first time, Etihad plans to eventually offer The Residence as an optional extra for guests to further enhance their First experience.

The Lobby, available to guests in first and business class, is a serviced lounge and bar area located between the two cabins.

The airline carried 4.02 million passengers in H1 2022 with an average seat load factor of 75 per cent, over 3 million more than in H1 2021 when it transported 980,000 passengers. Its passenger revenues tripled in the first six months of 2022, climbing to US$1.25 billion versus US$320 million in H1 2021.