Etihad Is Discontinuing A380 Service To Melbourne

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad has a total of 10 A380s on order, with nine already in their fleet, and one to be delivered soon. Up until now the A380 has flown from Abu Dhabi to London, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, and Sydney.

Last month I wrote about how Etihad announced some upcoming A380 service changes — Etihad is taking the A380 off their Mumbai route as of July 1, 2017, and will instead fly it to Paris as of that date. That seems logical enough, given that Abu Dhabi to Mumbai is a pretty short route.

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Etihad has just announced even further A380 service changesEtihad will discontinue flying the A380 between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne as of October 29, 2017. Etihad offers twice daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, and we’ll see the following changes:

  • EY460/461 will be operated by a 777-300ER rather than an A380
  • EY462/463 will be operated by a 787-9 rather than a 777-300ER


That represents a significant capacity reduction — in each direction there will be a reduction of 196 seats per day. It’s especially surprising that this is happening during peak season in the Southern Hemisphere, when you’d think there would be the most demand for travel to Australia (though perhaps a majority of Etihad’s passengers are Australians heading west). It’ll be interesting to see if this service adjustment is permanent.

On top of that, Etihad has also extended their A380 service reduction on the Mumbai route past October. Previously Etihad hadn’t extended the service reduction past October, but now they have.

As of now Etihad doesn’t seem to have scheduled the A380 onto a new route yet, so I’ll be curious to see what route gets the plane next.

Are you surprised to see Etihad take the A380 off the Abu Dhabi to Melbourne route? Which route do you think will get the plane next?

  1. @ Peter B @ Simon — For what it’s worth, my understanding is that Etihad’s A380 is configured in a way that’s too heavy for it to fly to LAX without a weight restriction.

  2. @ Lucky – That’s interesting. I looked it up. Emirates’s low density 3 class a380 has 489 seats total and a range of about 9300 miles. Etihad’s a380 has 494 seats and only a range of about 7900 miles. With only a 5 seat difference, I wonder what it could be that’s making it that much heavier?

  3. @ Peter B — I don’t have a good answer to that specifically, but I think there are calculations that go into the weights beyond just the number of seats. The info I have is from a friend at Etihad who said they analyzed LAX and said it couldn’t practically be done with an A380. Agree it’s a bit odd.

  4. Also would love to see EY flying the A380 to the west coast of the US, ideally SFO. @Ben, would the same weight restriction issue at LAX be present at SFO?

  5. CDG is just for the summer, maybe that will go year round. Maybe they could go to A380 to FRA ? For the US I could see them do ORD if SFO/LAX are unpracticle.
    Could also be somewhere in Asia

  6. Chicago would seem to make sense. Good connecting traffic in the US, considering JFK isn’t the best for connections and US preclearance in Abu Dhabi.

    Additionally, Etihad was first ME3 to come to Chicago and still holds an edge over Emirates at ORD. Finally, it would usher the first A380 service to Chicago.

  7. Toronto due to slot restrictions placed by the Canadian government is logical. Demand is high and they’ve been wanting to increase slots for years. Plus Canada-UAE isn’t affected by the electronic ban yet. So loads have been stable

  8. @ Andrew, Chicago can take the A380 (they built out a gate last year and promptly damaged a one off Emirates A380), but I heard from a well placed source at O’hare that it isn’t Chicago, just don’t know where.

  9. Given the collapse in ME3 demand to the U.S. and Emirates recent capacity cuts, I don’t think it will go there

  10. If it’s Etihad’s Three Class configured 787-9 that is replacing Melbourne’s A380 service, I actually consider this an improvement. I much prefer the 787-9’s First Class offering over that of the A380 – it’s a much more comfortable seat/bed and the service is generally much better due, I argue due to the smaller First cabin (I’d say the same for Business too in terms of service, and possibly the seat too but I haven’t compared it yet).

    Yes, the A380 Apartments are larger and yes you can have a shower, but the Apartment has terrible ergonomics and the shower is more of a gimmick, which you can easily live without. As much as I enjoy an A380 generally, sometimes smaller aircraft are better, particularly because you don’t have huge cabins, and things are more personal and you are just less of a seat number.

    Etihad’s Three Class 787 is my favourite Etihad aircraft to fly.

  11. What ar earth are people suggesting Chicago? Etihad had NEVER offered First Class, let alone suites.

  12. I’m annoyed & disappointed as we have two redemption flights ZRH-AUH-MEL on the Dreamliner in first and then on the A380 in first, and it took soooooooooo much planning to arrange. Now I’ve just awoken to an Expert Flyer alert to this aircraft change before jumping on here and seeing this story. I can envisage having to change this now to route via SYD will end up being a massive pain in the arse!

  13. @kieran:
    It’ll be a 2 class 787 according to airlineroute. They are dropping first class on that second flight.

  14. YYZ is my prediction. Canadian slot restrictions for ME3 and increasing demand from both EK and EY. Plus no electronic ban (yet) from YYZ.

  15. If not LAX perhaps a capacity add to Toronto? The UAE is limited on lift into Canada (not Open Skies) and as I understand it, the EK A380 is full 3x week (the max they are allowed) with mostly onward pax to the subcontinent. EY is operating a 777 3x week, so that might be an opportunity for a bigger machine. Especially since the electronics ban doesn’t apply to Canada and there’s an active effort to encourage immigration/technical workers fom India and elsewhere, vs. the US effort to close their borders to those workers, who travel back and forth a lot.

  16. My guess is they’ll focus their A380 on the slot-constrained banking routes, so maybe an extra rotation to LHR or JFK or SYD or maybe they’ll add it on HKG though the latter seems least likely.

  17. Flying AUH-MEL in F on a scheduled 380 on Oct 27. Praying they don’t bring the change date forward!

  18. I was planning a trip in Feb/March next year to Australia with my wife on first apartment. Just handful of miles away to book it. Perhaps this will put more load on Sydney, got to book fast as availability could get limited.

  19. Just to add I have 2x BOM-AUH-JFK-YVR (EY apartments & CX F) booked for Jan 2018 after holiday. I knew the BOM-AUH will be downgraded so it is no surprise and it’s only short flight so it is ok…. but then…..
    They also change my 10am A380 AUH-JFK flight to 3:35am flight (still A380)… without my consent…. so I think that’s ok.. but is this a sign of something???

    I suspect the 10AM AUH-JFK (EY103) may get downgraded soon… so they wanna keep me in A380 to match the original booking in Apartment maybe?? But I am sticking with EY101 (3:35am AUH-JFK) because I think this is a flagship USA flight and unlikely to get downgraded.

  20. Wish they could fly it to DFW. I thought the increase of the now-daily flights were a good sign of high loads, but who knows?

  21. @Bgriff- JFK 2x on the 380s was already announced, and that’s not being funded by the MEL cut.

  22. I think FRA might be getting the A380. Given their new codeshare with LH and LH no longer flying the route with its own metal, Etihad might now be seeing increased bookings esp from premium Pax who would otherwise fly LH on the route.

    Either way it has to be a route with good premium yields.

  23. ARN would be awesome, no A380 service yet, Emirates and Qatar only with two-class planes, the airport is about to rebuild some gates so they can handle the A380 and a huge demand for travel to UAE, Australia and South East Asia. Maybe bit low premium demand though.

  24. @Jason
    None of what I Said is incorrect in any way. My assumptions about premium yields are just that. Get your facts straight!

  25. HKG please. They already changed my AUH-CDG flight to A380, changing my 2 legs between AUH and HKG would suit me perfectly 😉

  26. & it’s revealed; Us Sydney peeps are getting double daily A380 Etihad services thanks to Melbourne.

  27. It’s moving…to Sydney. Sucked in Melbourne.

    Looks like availability to Australia hopefully won’t dry up too quickly.

  28. Etihad will most likely using the A380 for a second daily A380 flight to Sydney as of October.

    Source: Etihad’s Facebook page

  29. Seems like the 2nd daily may be temporary though. Aren’t they getting another 2 A380s? Given the issues with the US right now, I highly doubt they’ll add more A380s over, and plenty of great product flying over the pacific from the west coast.

    Since Emirates flies the A380 to LAX, I am surprised Etihad can’t get their weight down to fly that route.

  30. I think a logical movie for Etihad would be AUH-ARN-YYZ. Due to the slot restriction they would like to add capacity but at the same time ensure they can maintain added capacity demand wise. By filling the major gap Toronto (and vice versa) is as an underserved route from ARN demand can be maintained by having such a fifth freedom flight.

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