Jumbo news for the national airline…

Having a favourite type of aircraft might not be a natural identifier of somebody that’s fun at parties (it certainly doesn’t preclude it), but if you don’t have a main plane it’s probably because you’ve haven’t flown on an A380.

These flying giants hold a special place in the hearts of frequent flyers — with enhanced business and first class experiences, more space, more seats and cutting edge technology.

They’d been off of the Etihad Airways fleet register for a while, but now the airline has confirmed a return with four of the iconic super-jumbos hitting the skies of the Abu Dhabi — London route by summer 2023.

Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said that this was made possible thanks to the post-pandemic travel market bounce-back : “We have decided the time is right to return some of our A380s into the fleet to satisfy the demand which has made them financially viable once more. We look forward to welcoming our guests again on board this remarkable aircraft.”

Why do people love the A380 so much..?

There are two factors at play here, technical specs and the emotional attachment. Analysing the heart element — aesthetically they look pretty cool (it’s a double-decker plane, which is essentially an engineering mic drop); there’s a widely-held perception that there’s a bigger seat pitch in economy (though, depending on which airline you’re on, there usually isn’t); and that they’re less prone to turbulence (the pilot jury’s still out on this one). And does it matter if these perceptions are based on fact if the comfort they bring is real?

On the head element — the Etihad A380s feature some exciting gadgets and design frills and thrills. The new planes will come with nine ‘First Apartments’, 70 Business Studios and 405 Economy Smart Seats. 80 of those Economy ones will be Space seats which offer an upgraded seat pitch of up to 36 inches.

We’ll also see the return of The Lobby, (yay, sky bar) — reserved for guests in First and Business, comes with all the boujee mod-cons you’d expect including leather sofas, licensed refreshments and a big ol’TV.

Sustainable future

This news follows hot on the heels of a double sustainability award win for Etihad Airways. They picked up ‘Environmental Sustainability Innovation of the Year’ at CAPA’s annual Environmental Sustainability Awards for Excellence and ‘Best Airline for Sustainability 2022’ from Business Traveler USA.

This is thanks to the eco-friendly technology leaps made by the Greenliner programme, built on the enviromentally friendly backbone of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and the Sustainable50 A350-1000 models.

Images: Etihad