Which Routes Feature The Etihad Airways A350?

Which Routes Feature The Etihad Airways A350?

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Update: Etihad has now loaded the A350 into the summer schedule, and Chicago, New York, and some other routes, now reflect the A350. Below you can find an updated post that was initially published on March 31.

It’s an exciting time for Etihad Airways, as the airline has operated its first passenger flight with the A350-1000. Etihad Airways has five Airbus A350-1000s, which have been delivered to the airline in the past couple of years. However, up until now the planes hadn’t flown a single commercial flight. That has finally changed, and we now also know the first long haul routes that will get the plane.

Etihad Airways’ first Airbus A350 routes

Etihad Airways’ Airbus A350s have now started to enter service. Specifically, the A350 is initially scheduled on the following routes:

  • Istanbul (IST) — daily between April 1 and June 30, 2022
  • Mumbai (BOM) — daily between April 1 and the end of the schedule
  • Jeddah (JED) — 6x weekly between April 3 and June 30, 2022
  • Delhi (DEL) — daily between April 30 and the end of the schedule
  • Cairo (CAI) — 4x weekly between May 2 and June 30, 2022
  • Chicago (ORD) — daily between July 1 and the end of the schedule
  • New York (JFK) — daily between July 1 and the end of the schedule

As you can see, the airline is initially flying these planes regionally. Presumably that’s at least in part for crew familiarization and training, which is standard when an aircraft enters service. Then starting in July, Etihad will be operating the A350 on long haul routes, as those have now been loaded into the schedule.

Why hasn’t Etihad flown Airbus A350s yet?

Some people are probably wondering why Etihad would park brand new A350s for a couple of years after taking delivery of them. Well, Etihad has been undergoing a massive restructuring in an effort to control costs. While a decade back Etihad hoped to become a huge global airline and ordered all kinds of aircraft, that trend has very much been reversed in the past few years.

Etihad’s fleet has been shrinking, and even though the A350 is incredibly efficient, I’m guessing the economics have worked out better to just keep the planes parked, to save money on insurance, crew training, maintenance, etc.

That has finally changed, though, presumably because Etihad is retiring its Airbus A380s, Airbus A330s, and Boeing 777s. The plan is that in the future Etihad’s wide body fleet will consist exclusively of Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s.

The Etihad A380 may never fly again with passengers

Etihad currently has roughly 40 Boeing 787s in its fleet, with a total of 60 having been ordered (so roughly 20 are yet to be delivered). On top of that, Etihad had ordered 20 Airbus A350-1000s.

What are Etihad’s A350-1000 like?

What should we expect from Etihad’s Airbus A350-1000s?

  • Etihad’s A350s don’t feature first class
  • Etihad’s A350s feature Collins Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone seats with doors in business class, similar to British Airways’ A350 Club Suites; there are 44 business class seats, featuring 79″ fully flat beds, 18.5″ screens with bluetooth audio pairing, and wireless charging ports
  • Etihad’s A350s don’t feature premium economy
  • Etihad’s A3350s have economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, in what looks like a pretty decent product (the A350 is a joy to fly in general); there are 327 economy class seats feature 13″ screens with bluetooth audio pairing, charging ports, and personal device holders

As I’ve written about before, one has to wonder about the future of Etihad first class. At this point the airline has just five Boeing 787-9s featuring first class, and there are no plans for any other planes in the fleet to feature the cabin. I can’t imagine the economics make sense to keep around such a small first class fleet, so I suspect that will eventually be eliminated.

Etihad Boeing 787-9 first class

Bottom line

Etihad Airways’ A350s have entered passenger service for the first time. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier is flying these planes consistently on short haul routes as of April 2022, with long haul routes coming as of July 2022.

Unfortunately so much of the allure of Etihad Airways is gone after all these changes. I no longer really think of the “big three” Gulf carriers, as I don’t really think of Etihad as being in the same league as Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways anymore. And of course that’s fair enough — if the government of Abu Dhabi wants to stop lighting money on fire, that’s their prerogative.

What do you make of Etihad’s A350 routes?

Conversations (22)
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  1. IRA WILLIAM POLINSKY Guest

    etihad airbus a350-1000 should go from iad directly nonstop to auh

  2. IRA WILLIAM POLINSKY. Guest

    that sucks, etihad a350-1,000 should make iad, ewr, swf, & isp directly non-stop to auh.

    1. IRA WILLIAM POLINSKY Guest

      that sucks etihad airbus a350-1,000 should make iad & ewr directly non-stop to auh

  3. IRA WILLIAM POLINSKY. Guest

    that sucks, etihad a350-1,000 should make iad, ewr, & swf directly non-stop to auh.

  4. IRA WILLIAM POLINSKY. Guest

    that sucks, etihad a350-1,000 should make iad & ewr directly non-stop to auh.

  5. Andrew Diamond

    Love these “which routes” series. We probably need a “which routes did Emirates sell you an A380 J ticket but switched it for a 777” as well.

  6. AJ Member

    Exciting. I will be in Cairo during the launch period. Are we sure that it's only 4x/week. I looked at the calendar and it appears that it's 5x, yeah?

  7. Troy Guest

    I'm flying on the EY A350 tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing the new product!

  8. Marco Guest

    I was looking for the embedded Etihad Airways A350 videos in your post on YouTube and could not find them. And then I noticed they are unlisted videos when opened in YouTube. Do you have special access to these videos considering they would have been shared by a link to you

    Fingers crossed for Toronto to receive the A350-1000!!

    1. JB Guest

      The first A350 flight from ORD actually seems to be on June 30th, not July 1st (and the cash ticket cost for EY business seem to drop significantly on that date onwards from ORD).

  9. Mashad Guest

    Wow the Bluetooth pairing I feel definitely sets this apart... Does any other airline have that?

  10. robbo Guest

    Just did Business CDG-AUH-CMB AUH-CDG on 787-800 and 787-900. The service was impeccable, the cabins while not as bling as Qatar are excellent. Had long layovers both ways in AUH so stayed Premier Inn at Airport which was excellent ( three time better and and about a third of the price of the airside hotel ). In and out of Abu Dhabi was so simple ( AU passport ). But overall, look out Qatar, EY...

    Just did Business CDG-AUH-CMB AUH-CDG on 787-800 and 787-900. The service was impeccable, the cabins while not as bling as Qatar are excellent. Had long layovers both ways in AUH so stayed Premier Inn at Airport which was excellent ( three time better and and about a third of the price of the airside hotel ). In and out of Abu Dhabi was so simple ( AU passport ). But overall, look out Qatar, EY are coming after you.... QR have become very complacent ( they just reintroduced Award booking Fees ) after saying they wouldn't. And try and get through to their call-centre these days LOL. If EY would just join an Alliance, as an ex-pat living in Sri Lanka, I would drop QR in a heartbeat. Even though Emerald One world is the best for benefits in my opinion, I prefer the on-board capability of EY rather than the bling on QR on-ground.

    1. John Guest

      @robbo

      Right behind you, mate! Even though EY have had rough patches, I still rank them as a quality airline, and this new seat/plane only cements my view. Was seriously impressed with my first EY flight out of BNE to SIN in 2012, and I've tried to fly with them whenever I could, if SQ is not an option. And that Premier Inn Hotel option at the airport is so handy and well priced. Also...

      @robbo

      Right behind you, mate! Even though EY have had rough patches, I still rank them as a quality airline, and this new seat/plane only cements my view. Was seriously impressed with my first EY flight out of BNE to SIN in 2012, and I've tried to fly with them whenever I could, if SQ is not an option. And that Premier Inn Hotel option at the airport is so handy and well priced. Also a fan of QR, but several of their recent moves have been a bit off-putting, like those fees. Now if only that Midfield Terminal would open already!

  11. Bill n DC Guest

    First in the Etihad B787-9 DreamLiner is my favorite class on my favorite plane
    Looking forward to enjoying this AUH IAD on RTW22 Birthday Trip in July Definitely one of the best ways to come home along w LH B747-8i InterContinental

  12. TravelGirl Guest

    Airfares are generally higher these days but EY’s prices are ridiculous. I’m sitting on $5k of credits that expire soon but the fares make it impossible for me to book for my family. The routes I am looking at are $6k total with other airlines and similar routing, and $12k with EY. They are refusing to extend the expiry date.
    Any idea if a sale is forthcoming?! I am looking to travel in December.

  13. LarryInNYC Diamond

    Eti had first class; now they don't.

  14. Hammerofguam New Member

    I have EY First booked in October from AUH to LHR! Hope there are no cuts before then!

  15. Motion to Dismiss Guest

    Any idea what Etihad first class is like these days? I’d be curious to try it before it disappears altogether but maybe it’s not worth it if it’s a shell of its former self.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Motion to Dismiss -- I think service has been mostly restored, though there's no longer an inflight chef. I wouldn't get too excited about the soft product, since it's really the A380 that was most exciting pre-pandemic.

    2. Motion to Dismiss Member

      Thanks, Ben! I should have been logged in when I made my last comment, alas.

  16. Stuart Guest

    I just flew EY to MNL from AUH the other day. Sure, it was on the older 777 but the service was still wonderful in Business and, though the flight full, was well carried off as a whole. Dubai is becoming so last decade as well. Abu Dhabi is becoming its own unique destination with better beaches than Dubai and more relaxed rules to match them. Even during Ramadan they are loosening up for those...

    I just flew EY to MNL from AUH the other day. Sure, it was on the older 777 but the service was still wonderful in Business and, though the flight full, was well carried off as a whole. Dubai is becoming so last decade as well. Abu Dhabi is becoming its own unique destination with better beaches than Dubai and more relaxed rules to match them. Even during Ramadan they are loosening up for those at resorts. They will find a niche and an alternative to EK, which I also love.

    As far as connectivity goes AUH is far less bling than DXB or DOH, but that's ok, it's also getting much quieter and more peaceful as to connections. And with USA pre clearance offers a very unique aspect for traveling to the states.

    They will figure this out and are on the right track. I expect a more Qatar approach to business class, no more first, and a better product overall as they find their footing. And with Aeroplan and AA as redemption partners it's an attractive source for flights to most anywhere in the middle or east.

    1. Jason Guest

      Agree on Abu Dhabi - better beaches and I enjoy being there in general. yes - the service on Etihad is still good. I enjoy flying them.

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Jason Guest

Agree on Abu Dhabi - better beaches and I enjoy being there in general. yes - the service on Etihad is still good. I enjoy flying them.

1
Stuart Guest

I just flew EY to MNL from AUH the other day. Sure, it was on the older 777 but the service was still wonderful in Business and, though the flight full, was well carried off as a whole. Dubai is becoming so last decade as well. Abu Dhabi is becoming its own unique destination with better beaches than Dubai and more relaxed rules to match them. Even during Ramadan they are loosening up for those at resorts. They will find a niche and an alternative to EK, which I also love. As far as connectivity goes AUH is far less bling than DXB or DOH, but that's ok, it's also getting much quieter and more peaceful as to connections. And with USA pre clearance offers a very unique aspect for traveling to the states. They will figure this out and are on the right track. I expect a more Qatar approach to business class, no more first, and a better product overall as they find their footing. And with Aeroplan and AA as redemption partners it's an attractive source for flights to most anywhere in the middle or east.

1
JB Guest

The first A350 flight from ORD actually seems to be on June 30th, not July 1st (and the cash ticket cost for EY business seem to drop significantly on that date onwards from ORD).

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