Etihad Is Reducing Flights To LAX As Of January 2018

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad has been trying to cut costs for the past couple of years. This has come in the form of making cuts to their passenger experience, and also in the form of canceling unprofitable routes. As far as route cuts go, as of later this month, Etihad is discontinuing flights between Abu Dhabi and San Francisco. The cancelation was only announced after they first reduced frequencies in the market to 3x weekly earlier in the year.

San Francisco is a tech hub and is a market where you’d think Gulf carriers would do well, but I suspect they’ve suffered because Air India started flying between San Francisco and Delhi in 2015 (they’ve even increased frequencies on the route since then). Given how much traffic on Gulf carriers to/from the US is for travel to India, they have clearly lost a significant amount of market share there.

Well, it looks like San Francisco isn’t the only US market where Etihad is pulling back. As of January 16, 2018, Etihad is reducing their Los Angeles flight from daily to 4x weekly. As of now this schedule change is only loaded through April 30, though I suspect it’s fairly likely that it will be extended beyond that.

That’s a significant reduction in terms of frequency, though at the same time they will be putting a bigger plane on the route. Currently the route is operated by a 777-200LR, while going forward it will be operated by a 777-300ER.

Both planes have eight first class suites and 40 business class seats, though the capacity difference is in economy. The 777-200LR has 191 seats in economy, while the 777-300ER has 282 seats in economy.

So net we’re talking about a reduction of 353 seats per direction per week, though they’re disproportionately in premium cabins. Etihad is losing 144 first & business class seats per week in each direction.

The Gulf carriers make their money in premium cabins, given how low economy airfare is nowadays, and what ultra longhaul flights these are. So they’re not making money on those booking ~$700 roundtrip economy fares between India and Los Angeles.

I had heard Etihad’s Los Angeles route wasn’t doing well, so I guess this doesn’t come as a surprise. I wonder if this route is the next one to be on the chopping block, assuming they take a similar approach to what they did in San Francisco.

And to think that Etihad opened their own lounge at LAX just last year

Etihad-Airways-Lounge-LAX - 7

Are you surprised to see Etihad reducing frequencies to LAX?


  1. @Tniop Washington is a prestige route — connecting the capitals of the USA and UAE. It’s also served by a 787 which is cheaper to operate and smaller than a 777.

  2. Washington route gets a lot of diplomatic traffic. Lots of UAE diplomats coming and going on that flight. More demand just for Abu Dhabi from DC. Whereas LA has very little demand to Abu Dhabi- most people on that flight just passing through on their way to Tehran and India.

  3. DC here.

    I’ve never seen the AUH-IAD + v.v. flight not full.

    Could be coincidence but that’s my experience.

    Will be on it again in a few weeks and will check out the load.

  4. There is an impending announcement by Air India on commencing the DEL-LAX route. But then It’s Air India. So you never know.

  5. How could they justify having a lounge with only 1 flight to LAX? That is just a huge waste of money. There are so many lounges in the TBIT for them to share: ONEWORLD lounge, Star alliance lounge, QANTAS,
    Los Angeles International Lounge & the Korean air lounge. Just pay to use one of those lounges. And with them losing the AA codeshare they will be in a world of hurt. Not fun times for Etihad.

  6. Not surprising at all because days of living dangerously by disregarding profit as a company will get a wake up…

  7. Looks like a seasonal reduction and back to daily from May. Same as any airline would do, however you don’t seem transpacific reductions by China Eastern, China southern etc as news worthy

  8. Great, now I’ll have to look at schedules to go outside and look up for these flights. I see tons of traffic from UAE/Europe heading to LAX, SFO, LAS. I work from home so frequently I’ll take my laptop to the front porch and watch the planes stream by overhead.

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