Long live the Residence: Etihad will keep flying its Airbus A380s

May 27, 2020

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Good news for fans of the superjumbo and Etihad’s most premium product the Residence, as the airline confirmed that its A380s are here to stay.

While all 10 of Etihad’s A380s are currently grounded due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, on Wednesday, Etihad quashed rumours that it will stop flying the superjumbo.

“The Airbus A380 remains an important part of the Etihad fleet and is well suited to a number of key routes, which are planned to be gradually reintroduced once international restrictions are lifted, and global travel picks up”, an Etihad spokesperson told Executive Traveller.

Related: Will the Airbus A380 fly again once travel resumes?

In the same announcement, the airline expressed its commitment to the delivery of the 20 A350-1000s that it has on order.

By keeping the A380 in its fleet, Etihad is retaining its famed Residence product, which is only available on the superjumbo. The Residence is one of the most exclusive ways in the sky to travel.

In total, Etihad operates two routes to the U.K. —  London Heathrow (LHR) and Manchester (MAN). The A380 only operates on the Heathrow route.

Cash tickets to fly the Residence are often astronomical, as are the mileage costs. A one-way flight between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and London (LHR) will cost 2,198,487 Etihad Guest miles. Yes, you read that right — more than two million miles. Keep in mind that you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Etihad Guest miles at a 1:1 rate.

We’re seeing fewer and fewer A380s in the sky thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, the A380 has been high on many airlines’ list to ground because of the number of seats to fill, the cost to operate the aircraft and decreased demand.

Long before the arrival of the coronavirus, the impending death of the mega-jet has been ongoing since February 2019 when the Airbus factory in Toulouse announced it would stop the production of the A380 entirely.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Etihad no longer flies to London Gatwick.

Featured image by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.

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