The first of Etihad’s four Airbus A380 aircraft being brought back into service has officially returned to the skies.
As of today, the A380 will be operating flights EY11 and EY12 between Abu Dhabi and London, with the inaugural flight departing Abu Dhabi at 0205 today and landing at London Heathrow at 0645 local time. From 1 August the A380 will also operate flights EY19 and EY20 between the two destinations.
Prior to take-off, executives from Etihad, Abu Dhabi airport and the Department of Culture and Tourism gathered to welcome the aircraft back to service. Passengers onboard were also treated to A380-themed souvenirs to celebrate the occasion.
Antonoaldo Neves, chief executive officer, Etihad Airways, said: “We’re excited to once again welcome guests onboard Etihad’s A380s and step into a truly remarkable experience. Whether our guests are choosing to fly in economy, business, first or our three-room suite in the sky The Residence, this aircraft provides an elevated flying experience which we take extreme pride in.
“The aircraft adds much needed capacity connecting Abu Dhabi with London Heathrow and allows us to build our network and increase frequencies across the network. With a surge in demand for travel over the summer, the return of our much-loved A380 comes at the perfect time.”
Etihad’s A380 offers 337 Economy Smart seats and 68 Economy Space seats (featuring an additional 4 inches of leg room). There are 70 Business Studios on the upper deck (read our tried and tested review here) with a serviced lounge and bar, nine First Apartments with a private living space and 80-inch lie-flat beds, and The Residence – a three-room suite with living room, bedroom and ensuite bathroom with shower.
The UAE carrier announced its superjumbo would be rejoining the fleet last year despite former CEO Tony Douglas claiming this would be “very unlikely” in March 2021.
This follows a trend across a number of airlines that have made U-turn decisions on the role of the A380 – find out who is currently flying the giant aircraft where with our updated A380 guide.