The airline has received five A350-1000s in the past couple of years. The planes haven't flown a commercial flight in years. We now know when that could change.

Etihad targets Q2 2022 for A350 service

The airline is hoping to have the first A350 in service by the second quarter of 2022. I think the timelines could change because no exact routes or dates have been provided for the plane being put into service.

The plan to add A350s to the fleet was described by Tony Douglas.

“We look forward to our guests being able to experience our state-of-the-art Airbus A350s when they debut later this year, taking pride of place alongside our Boeing 787s. With one of the most fuel-efficient fleets in the world and with sustainability at the very top of our agenda, we will continue to pave the way for more sustainable flying in 2022 and beyond.”

Some people are wondering why the A350s are parked for a couple of years after being delivered. In an effort to control costs, Etihad has undergone a massive restructuring. In the past few years, the trend of ordering all kinds of aircraft has been reversed as the airline tries to become a huge global airline.

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 will be changing because of the retirement of the A380s, A330s, and Boeing 777s. In the future, the wide body fleet will consist of only Boeing and Airbus planes.

The Etihad A380 may never fly again with passengers

There are roughly 40 Boeing 787s in the fleet of Etihad, with a total of 60 having been ordered. The airline had ordered 20 A350-1000s.

What will Etihad’s A350-1000s be like?

What should we expect from the A350-1000s? The airline showed off the cabins at the Dubai Air Show in 2021, but hasn't formally unveiled the product beyond that. We know what we know.

  • Etihad’s A350s won’t feature first class
  • Etihad’s A350s will feature Collins Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone seats with doors in business class, similar to British Airways’ A350 Club Suites
  • Etihad’s A350s won’t feature premium economy
  • Etihad’s A3350s will 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)

Etihad presents its A350-1000 cabins at the Dubai Air Show 20215x A35Ks were delivered in 2019 and 2020 and have since been storedCollins Super Diamond for Business class; similar to BA Club Suite and Aeroflot 77W

787-9,-10, A35K become their future long-haul fleet#DAS21

— Incompressible Flow (@incompressflow) November 14, 2021

I have written about the future of first class in the past. There are only five Boeing 787-9s in the airline's fleet, and there are no plans for any other planes to feature the cabin. I don't think the economics make sense to keep a small first class fleet.

Etihad Boeing 787-9 first class

Bottom line

There is an update on the parked A350s. The carrier in Abu Dhabi hopes to have these planes in service by the second quarter of 2022. The A350 is a great plane to fly.

A lot of the appeal of the airline is gone after these changes. I don't think of Gulf carriers as big as they used to be, and I don't think of Etihad as being in the same league as other airlines. If the government of Abu Dhabi wants to stop lighting money on fire, that's their prerogative.

What do you think about the A350 plans, and what routes do you think the airline will fly it?

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