Etihad A380s in 2024: Routes, Fleet & Retirement Plans

With Etihad Airways putting the Airbus A380 back into service after grounding the type during the COVID-19 pandemic, all three of the major Middle Eastern airlines including Emirates and Qatar Airways operate the Superjumbo now.

Continue reading to find out what flights the Etihad A380 can be flown on, how many A380s it has in its fleet, and what the airline’s future plans with the A380 are.

Etihad Airways A380 Routes

In the past, Etihad Airways A380s could regularly be seen at several airports around the world including New York JFK, London Heathrow, Paris CDG, and Sydney.

When bringing the A380s out of storage, however, it seemed like Etihad Airways only had one goal in mind – to increase capacity on its flights between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow.

More recently, reports about the airline also planning to reintroduce the A380 on other routes in the future with New York JFK and/or Sydney being the most likely emerged. On November 29, 2023, Etihad Airways confirmed those rumors with a press release saying the airline would start operating the A380 between Abu Dhabi and New York JFK from April 22, 2024.

Etihad Airways 2024 Airbus A380 Routes
Routes the Etihad A380s operate in 2024. (Map generated using Great Circle Mapper)

With that, currently, three of Etihad’s four daily rotations between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow – EY11/EY12, EY17/EY18, and EY19/EY20 – are operated using the A380.

The first of those was switched from Boeing 787 to the A380 on July 25, 2023. EY19/EY20 followed on August 1, 2023. Lastly, EY17/EY18 was upgauged to the A380 from November 1, 2023. The remaining rotation – EY25/EY26 – is scheduled to remain operated by the 787 for the time being.

Additionally, one of the two daily Abu Dhabi – New York rotations (EY1/EY2) is operated using the A380 from April 22, 2024. The other rotation – EY2/EY3 – continues to be operated by Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Etihad Airways A380 Fleet

Etihad Airways received 10 Airbus A380s from Airbus between 2014 and 2017 – the same number as its rival Qatar Airways. The airline put all ten of the Superjumbos in storage once the pandemic hit the airline industry.

Four Etihad A380s were put back into service at this point. These four airframes also happen to be the most recently delivered ones. Namely, they are:

  • A6-APG (MSN 198, delivered in 2016)
  • A6-APH (MSN 199, delivered in 2016)
  • A6-API (MSN 233, delivered in 2017)
  • A6-APJ (MSN 237, delivered in 2017)

Etihad Airways A380 Seat Configuration

Etihad Airways’ A380s are equipped with 485 seats across three classes including first (9 seats + The Residence), business (70 seats), and economy (405 seats).

All of the aircraft’s economy class seats – and no business or first class seats – can be found on the main deck. Except for a couple of rows, they are in a 3-4-3 layout. All of the first and business class seats can be found on the upper deck.

There are three unique things about Etihad’s first class.

First, the seats – called First Class Apartments – are in a 1-1 single-aisle layout making Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines the only two airlines with a single- rather than twin-aisle layout on the A380.

Second, together with Emirates’ A380s, Etihad’s A380s are the only aircraft operated by regular airlines to offer onboard showers to their passengers.

Third, at the very front of the upper deck, Etihad Airways A380s have The Residence which, as the name might suggest, is the largest “seat” that can be flown on a regular airline flight. I put “seat” in quotation marks since it’s actually an entire dedicated space with a living room, a bedroom, and even a private bathroom with a shower that can be used by up to two passengers.

While The Residence used to be a separate class with service differentiated from first class and including a butler, with the 2023 reintroduction of the A380, the soft product differentiation has been significantly downgraded.

Both business and economy class seats on Etihad’s A380s are nice but nothing that stands out from the competition too much. In business class, Etihad is using staggered seats on the A380.

Etihad A380s in 2023: Routes, Fleet & Retirement Plans

Etihad Airways A380 Retirement Plans

As mentioned above, Etihad brought back into service four of its ten A380s. The remaining six airframes have been in storage since 2020 – these are also the first six airframes Etihad received from Airbus:

  • A6-APA (MSN 166, delivered in 2014)
  • A6-APB (MSN 170, delivered in 2015)
  • A6-APC (MSN 176, delivered in 2015)
  • A6-APD (MSN 180, delivered in 2015)
  • A6-APE (MSN 191, delivered in 2015)
  • A6-APF (MSN 195, delivered in 2016)

When all ten airframes were parked at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tony Douglas, the airline’s CEO, told The National that “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.”

While the airline ended up reactivating the A380, it has done so in a very targeted way with just four airframes and just on its flagship routes to London Heathrow and New York. Considering that the four airframes that were brought out of storage for this purpose are also the newest airframes, it is unlikely more of them will be reactivated.

As for the A380s that are back in service, there are no official retirement plans at this point. With the airframes being just six or seven years old, chances are they will continue to operate for quite some time – that is as long as Etihad can make the economics work.


With Etihad Airways reactivating some of its A380s, all of the airlines other than those that retired the type for good – i.e. Air France, China Southern Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and Thai – have the Superjumbo in service now.

While originally it looked like Etihad would only be using it on its flagship route to London Heathrow, the aircraft is now also being deployed on the Abu Dhabi – New York JFK route. At this point it is unlikely the aircraft will be put on other routes.

To see what other airlines operate the A380, check this article.

First published on 2023/08/04. Updated on 2023/11/27 to include Etihad Airways’ latest A380 fleet, routes status, and retirement plans; on 2023/11/30 to include upcoming New York JFK route information, and on 2024/05/02 with New York JFK route status.

1 thought on “Etihad A380s in 2024: Routes, Fleet & Retirement Plans”

  1. Please write an Article on JAL Boeing 777-300ER Fleet routes and retirements. As an Avgeek, I wanna fly on the fleet.

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