Due to operational inefficiencies, most airlines have ‘parked’ their A380s indefinitely since the pandemic began.
Some airlines, such as British Airways, have returned their A380s to the sky almost two years later.
While some airlines have stated that their A380s will not be returning ‘for good,’ Etihad Airways has always been open to the possibility of the A380 returning to the skies, despite the fact that it “does not make economic sense” to the carrier.
Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas told Business Insider that the carrier is still considering bringing the A380 back to the sky, but only if “certain market conditions are met.”
“For the last 18 months, (the A380s are) out because the economics don’t work,” Douglas said about the challenges of filling seats on the flight.
“The market has only really come back in the past two months, it’s probably too early to say.”
While Douglas stated that Etihad will “never say never” to the A380, he also stated that he is not a “registered charity” and that the return must be well-justified.
“I’d never say never but they’re not in the plan at the moment,” Douglas said. “If the economics don’t work, I’m not a registered charity. They’re (A380s) out. … If I was ever minded to bring them back, it would have to be business justified in terms of volume and yield but it would then only be a stopgap until we take more deliveries of (other planes).
Because the minute I’ve got these (other aircraft), I can then do the same job in a far more efficient way.”
Another stumbling block to the A380’s reintroduction is its high operating costs. Sustainability will be a major concern for the airline in the future. The costs of preserving, operating, and repairing the A380 cannot be reconciled with the airline’s long-term green goals.
Etihad’s A380 fleet of ten planes is currently in storage and hasn’t flown in over a year.