Several months ago, Etihad Airways revealed their revolutionary new A380, which really is unlike anything we’ve seen from the current A380 operators. Between The Residences, First Class Apartments, Business Class Studios, etc., the branding is genius, in my opinion.
Etihad The Residence
Etihad will be inaugurating A380 service between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of December 27, 2014. The A380 will operate the EY11/12 flights, with the following schedule:
EY11 Abu Dhabi to London departing 2:35AM arriving 6:35AM
EY12 London to Abu Dhabi departing 9:15AM arriving 8:05PM
Then last week Etihad announced that they’ll operate a second daily A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of March 1, 2015. The second A380 will operate the EY17/18 flights, with the following schedule:
EY17 Abu Dhabi to London departing 1:25PM arriving 5:30PM
EY18 London to Abu Dhabi departing 8:20PM arriving 7:20AM (+1 day)
Just today Etihad announced even further A380 service.
First of all, Etihad will be launching a third daily A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of May 1, 2015. The third A380 will operate the EY19/20 flights, with the following schedule:
EY19 Abu Dhabi to London departing 8:35AM arriving 1:05PM
EY20 London to Abu Dhabi departing 2:50PM arriving 12:45AM (+1 day)
This means that as of May 1, 2015, all three of Etihad’s daily London Heathrow flights will be operated by the A380.
Furthermore, Etihad has formally announced their second A380 destination, which will by Sydney. Etihad will launch daily A380 flights to Sydney as of June 1, 2015, with the following schedule:
EY454 Abu Dhabi to Sydney departing 9:50PM arriving 5:40PM (+1 day)
EY455 Sydney to Abu Dhabi departing 9:50PM arriving 6:25AM (+1 day)
Now that’s a flight where you can really get value out of Etihad’s premium products, given that the flights to London Heathrow aren’t really long enough to fully enjoy the experience. The first class fare on the route isn’t unreasonable (relatively speaking), at under $6,000USD one-way.
Etihad First Class Apartment
They don’t seem to have published fares for The Residence yet. Given that they charge $20,000+ one-way for The Residence to London, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fare of $40,000+ one-way to Sydney (though if I had to guess, I’d say the fare will be closer to $30,000).
This is actually a lot more A380 service than I was expecting from Etihad so quickly. They were supposed to take delivery of five A380s by the end of 2015, so I’m not sure if they’re front loaded towards the beginning of the year, or if they’re ahead of schedule on taking delivery of them. I know they’ve stated that their next A380 destination will be New York, though adding that service will require more than five total A380s. So if we’re to believe the supposed rollout schedule, I would guess it will be early 2016 before they send it to New York.
While the A380 service is obviously exciting in theory, this generally isn’t good news for those of us booking award tickets, since Etihad isn’t releasing saver level premium cabin award space to partner airlines on these aircraft… yet. Hopefully they do what Singapore Airlines eventually did with their Suites Class, and begin releasing saver level award space once the novelty dies off.
(Tip of the hat to Australian Business Traveller)