Etihad A380s Flying To Sydney And London!

Several months ago, Etihad Airways revealed their revolutionary new A380, which really is unlike anything we’ve seen from the current A380 operators. Between The Residences, First Class Apartments, Business Class Studios, etc., the branding is genius, in my opinion.

Etihad-Residences
Etihad The Residence

Etihad will be inaugurating A380 service between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of December 27, 2014. The A380 will operate the EY11/12 flights, with the following schedule:

EY11 Abu Dhabi to London departing 2:35AM arriving 6:35AM
EY12 London to Abu Dhabi departing 9:15AM arriving 8:05PM

Then last week Etihad announced that they’ll operate a second daily A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of March 1, 2015. The second A380 will operate the EY17/18 flights, with the following schedule:

EY17 Abu Dhabi to London departing 1:25PM arriving 5:30PM
EY18 London to Abu Dhabi departing 8:20PM arriving 7:20AM (+1 day)

Just today Etihad announced even further A380 service.

First of all, Etihad will be launching a third daily A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of May 1, 2015. The third A380 will operate the EY19/20 flights, with the following schedule:

EY19 Abu Dhabi to London departing 8:35AM arriving 1:05PM
EY20 London to Abu Dhabi departing 2:50PM arriving 12:45AM (+1 day)

This means that as of May 1, 2015, all three of Etihad’s daily London Heathrow flights will be operated by the A380.

Etihad-Award-Space

Furthermore, Etihad has formally announced their second A380 destination, which will by Sydney. Etihad will launch daily A380 flights to Sydney as of June 1, 2015, with the following schedule:

EY454 Abu Dhabi to Sydney departing 9:50PM arriving 5:40PM (+1 day)
EY455 Sydney to Abu Dhabi departing 9:50PM arriving 6:25AM (+1 day)

Now that’s a flight where you can really get value out of Etihad’s premium products, given that the flights to London Heathrow aren’t really long enough to fully enjoy the experience. The first class fare on the route isn’t unreasonable (relatively speaking), at under $6,000USD one-way.

Etihad-Sydney-Fare-1

FIRST_APARTMENT_SLEEP
Etihad First Class Apartment

They don’t seem to have published fares for The Residence yet. Given that they charge $20,000+ one-way for The Residence to London, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fare of $40,000+ one-way to Sydney (though if I had to guess, I’d say the fare will be closer to $30,000).

Etihad-London-Fare-1

Bottom line

This is actually a lot more A380 service than I was expecting from Etihad so quickly. They were supposed to take delivery of five A380s by the end of 2015, so I’m not sure if they’re front loaded towards the beginning of the year, or if they’re ahead of schedule on taking delivery of them. I know they’ve stated that their next A380 destination will be New York, though adding that service will require more than five total A380s. So if we’re to believe the supposed rollout schedule, I would guess it will be early 2016 before they send it to New York.

While the A380 service is obviously exciting in theory, this generally isn’t good news for those of us booking award tickets, since Etihad isn’t releasing saver level premium cabin award space to partner airlines on these aircraft… yet. Hopefully they do what Singapore Airlines eventually did with their Suites Class, and begin releasing saver level award space once the novelty dies off.

(Tip of the hat to Australian Business Traveller)

Comments

  1. That will be a great trip – AUH-SYD on the A380 in either First or Business is going to be something special, considering that even the Business class “Studio” are better than some other airlines’ First class seats!

  2. @ Lantean — Well at this point the only thing left to speculate on is New York, and I highly doubt it will see the A380 in the next 11 months.

  3. Hmmmm.

    Let’s play the “guess how many miles” game. IF/WHEN Etihad begins releasing award space in their premium cabins for the SYD route, how many miles (and which program) do you think it would take to get a first class suite?

  4. @ Reine — Well they already do release award space to their own members at the “high” award level, which is well over a million miles roundtrip. If they release space to partner airlines, it would be at the saver level, as that’s the only way partner award space is bookable.

  5. Perhaps Etihad took the planes meant for Skymark and refitted those for their A380? Etihad announced before that the A380’s first longhaul destination would be Sydney by June 2015 so it was possible to do speculative bookings (just had to guess EY450 or EY454.)

  6. I just booked 2 SYD-AUH on EY 455 for May 17, 2015 in F using AA miles (60k). Still showing 77W but praying to every sheikh in the UAE that the A380 makes a 2 week early arrival on the route.

  7. I was looking at Ex-NBO fares to LHR, and the NBO> AUH > LHR were around $2300 in F on the 380 next summer. Decided to book a direct flight though with BA (traveling with 5 year old).

  8. I’ve got First Studio EY AUH-DUS in December on the B787 and back from LHR in the A380 Apartment in January (paid tickets), should be interesting flights…!!!

  9. Ooh, now I know what happened to Akbar Al Baker’s planes… Etihad took them!!! But of course don’t take my word for it — you’re supposed to ask Airbus, remember? But tell them that if they lie then Akbar will set the record straight!

  10. Why doesn’t Lucky just restart his campaign. If he truly gets more readers every month it could get him enough to fly at least to London if not Sydney. Additionally I just checked and Kickstarter has saved his total so he would not be starting from scratch. Maybe he should just restart it and re ignite the flame so we can all read his review. I am sure a LOT of us would like to read his review of this.

  11. 1. Is the demand for capacity between AUH and LHR really that high?
    2. Why is the duration for the flights shown on the booking engine not all the same?

  12. @ Daniel — Keep in mind there’s a lot of connecting traffic in Abu Dhabi, and London is a huge market, so probably. And I think partly it’s about the prestige of offering all A380 service to London. The flight times are slightly different because airports are busy during peak times, so they plan for extra delays, like waiting for takeoff, holding patterns, etc.

  13. From your blog post on the 2nd EY A380 flight to London, didn’t you mention how you were able to snag a speculative booking in EY First? Well, now it’s an A380! Congrats buddy! 🙂 I did put a speculative booking for AUH-SYD but booked it in EY450 in mid-June 2015 :/ ah well. In the article that I read, JFK is the other destination but I agree with you that it’ll most likely be in 2016. @Sam, from news sources, EY does have an order of 9 A380s from Airbus, to be all delivered by 2017 so there’s time.

  14. @ Joey — My speculative booking on the last A380 flight was for March, before it swaps to an A380.

  15. Hi Ben,

    Etihad is still showing EY 17 as A340-642, at least through June 30th 2015. Did the planned May 1, 2015 date get postponed? I’m want to book into the Apartment. Should I book the A340, speculatively, assuming it will indeed change to the A340 on March 1?

    Thanks!
    Shawn

  16. @ Shawn Oplinger — Yep, they did change dates around, though it’s possible that they’ll change them back. But as of now it’s not scheduled to be operated by an A380 at that point.

  17. @Lucky

    I thought all 3 LHR-AUH flights were scheduled for the A380? What happened to the overnight flight to AUH as I see later in the year it shows a 77W.

  18. @ Daniel — They haven’t updated the schedule for all the flights and have had some schedule adjustments, so I think it’s probably still subject to change.

  19. does anyone see ANY availability for A380 auh-syd or syd-auh? I sampled full calendar an no residence availability at all.

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