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Etihad has struggled from a commercial perspective pretty much forever. That said, for years they did offer a very good Business Class and First Class product. The airline also developed the iconic First Class ‘Apartments’ and ‘The Residence’ onboard its Airbus A380 aircraft.
Sadly, it now looks like those aircraft will never fly passengers for Etihad again. In a recent interview with The National News, Etihad’s CEO, Tony Douglas had this to say:
“We’re expecting 2021 to be a very difficult year, we’re expecting 2022 to be a transition year and we’re expecting 2023 sees us slowly getting back to pre-Covid passenger numbers… We’ve budgeted for 2021 to be a continuation of many of the challenges we faced last year… We put the metal down on the floor on the transformation agenda and it was difficult because we had to make further network and fleet decisions… It’s one of those where you segment how you fight your way through 2021-2022 and we’d do that with the 787s predominantly…We have now taken the strategic decision to park the A380s, I’m sure it’s very likely that we won’t see them operating with Etihad again“
In the travel business, it’s rare to see something genuinely new and different. Press releases for brands and ‘innovations’ tend to be stuffed full of buzzwords, hype and spin, but lack the product to back it up. Etihad’s Apartments weren’t like that – they were genuinely innovative and a truly spectacular way to fly.
And if you don’t believe me, here’s Nicole Kidman instead:
Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartments were special, combining sophistication with space – and fun.
Hopefully, Etihad will continue to offer a decent Business and First Class product on its other aircraft types, but it won’t feel the same.
Will you miss Etihad’s Airbus A380s?