Etihad Will Fly The A380 To Seoul Incheon

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad Airways operates a fleet of just 10 Airbus A380s. So while they can use these planes to operate some of their flagship routes, they have to be selective with where they fly the planes. Contrast that to Emirates, where nearly half of their fleet is A380s.

At the moment Etihad flies their A380s to London, New York, Paris, and Sydney. The airline is now adding another route to the mix.

Etihad will fly the A380 to Seoul Incheon

Etihad has announced that they’ll fly the A380 daily between Abu Dhabi and Seoul Incheon as of July 1, 2019.

This flight operates with the following schedule:

EY876 Abu Dhabi to Seoul Incheon departing 10:05PM arriving 11:35AM (+1 day)
EY873 Seoul Incheon to Abu Dhabi departing 1:00AM arriving 5:45AM

The flight covers a distance of 4,256 miles, and is blocked at 8hr30min eastbound and 9hr45min westbound. Currently Etihad uses a Boeing 787-10 for the route, featuring just business class and economy.

With the schedule for the flight the plane sits on the ground in Incheon for over 12 hours, so it’s not a very efficient use of a plane, and they’ll need more than one A380 frame to operate this route.

Where is the A380 for this route coming from?

As of July 1, 2019, Etihad will be downgrading one of their two daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Sydney from an A380 to a 777-300ER. One of the frequencies will continue to be operated by an A380, though the following frequency will be downgraded:

EY450 Abu Dhabi to Sydney departing 10:30AM arriving 6:30AM (+1 day)
EY451 Sydney to Abu Dhabi departing 3:15PM arriving 11:55PM

What the A380 means for passengers

Etihad’s A380s features a total of 486 seats. This includes The Residence, which is Etihad’s three room suite with butler service for up to two passengers.

Then Etihad has nine first class seats, known as First Apartments.

Then there are 70 business class seats, known as Business Studios.

Lastly there are 405 economy seats, which are usually quite comfortable on the A380 thanks to the wide cabin.

Bottom line

Etihad Airways is taking an A380 off their Sydney route and instead putting it on their Seoul Incheon route.

Frankly I’m a bit surprised to see this route upgraded. Seoul is never a market where Etihad has operated more than one daily flight, and it’s not like they have much connectivity beyond Incheon. So while I didn’t see this coming, I guess it’s safe to assume that it’s one of their better performing routes.

Etihad notes that the UAE is the largest importer of South Korean goods in the Middle East and Africa, and the trade is worth $15 billion every year. It’s also estimated that over 200,000 Korean tourists visit the UAE every year.

Are you surprised to see Etihad fly the A380 to Incheon?

  1. Thanks for checking into where the plane is being pulled from. Airlines often announce new routes with lots of grandiose fanfare but somehow forget to mention the service that they’re pulling to make a new route or upgrade possible.

  2. Etihad’s strategy is interesting. QR dumps its A380s in slot-restricted markets like BKK and Australia, while Etihad chooses ICN of all places to fly the A380. Restarting MEL would have been better as MEL still has a Residence lounge.

  3. “Etihad has operated more than one daily flight, and it’s not like they have much connectivity beyond Incheon.“
    I thought Etihad codeshares with both Korean Air and Asiana, or have that changed?

  4. It’s about the connectivity offered at Abu Dhabi. Not the connectivity at Seoul. Abu Dhabu connectivity is what the whole airline is about. Not connectivity st the spokes.

  5. Now we know why Asiana stopped allowing AUH-JFK redemptions in First.
    Every Korean would be booking ICN-AUH-JFK awards!

  6. Articles like these are why I love this blog. The article itself isn’t special in reality, but compared to other blogs, they either have ONLY mainstream and basic articles (and very card sign up focused, of course — cough TPG). Or they are hobbyists who are either too small to have good volume, or they only do trip reports, for whatever reason.

  7. this makes sense since Korea-UAE have strong diplomatic relationship and most of the big engineering projects in the country are built by Korean firms – most notably the Burj Khalifa. lots of travel between the two countries for either work or travel. wish I had been able to take the A380 on this route rather than the 777 which is STILL unpainted in the new/current livery

  8. I am somewhat surprised, but also understand this move because of all the reasons cited above, BUT the biggest reasons I suspect is because there’s an increased demand from travelers looking to get to Europe and save a couple hundred dollars. Etihad provides EXCELLENT connection schedules to Europe via Abu Dhabi. You leave ICN around 12am~1am, get to Abu Dhabi 5am, take a couple hours to connect/roam around the airport, take the early morning flight to many tourist-popular cities in Europe (London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, etc etc) to get you there by early afternoon. And, Etihad has been consistently cheaper than Korean Air or Asiana both of whom offer direct flights to most European cities.

    I just searched for a flight on Etihad’s website to see if I can book a residence seat from ICN-AUH and it’s not allowing me to do so. And it says that it’s still Do you know when it would be bookable?

  9. Are there really two A380 flights a day from Abu Dhabi to Sydney? I thought the morning flight was already flown by a 777.

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