Etihad A380 Service Changes: Hello Paris, Goodbye Mumbai

Well, I guess this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Etihad has just announced that as of July 1, 2017, they’ll be cutting A380 service to Mumbai, and will be introducing A380 service to Paris.

Etihad-Arrivals-Lounge-Abu-Dhabi - 1

The Abu Dhabi to Mumbai flight (EY203/204) will be replaced by an A340-600, while the Abu Dhabi to Paris flight (EY31/32) is replacing a 777-300 or A330, depending on the day of the week.

As of now Etihad has updated their schedule through October 28, 2017. That means Etihad continues to show the A380 flying to Mumbai after that date, and doesn’t show the A380 flying to Paris after that date. That’s likely because that’s when the next schedule cycle starts. So I wouldn’t count on Etihad bringing the A380 back to Mumbai, but rather think they just haven’t put too much thought into the schedule beyond that.

Business Standard suggests that Etihad is pulling the A380 from Mumbai because the yields haven’t been great in first class:

Sources say that loads in The Residence and first class on the Mumbai route have been poor and that may have prompted the airline to change the aircraft.

“The A380 from Mumbai flies onward to New York from Abu Dhabi and there has always been good load of passengers in economy and business class  to the US. But, the airline has been unable to fill up the first class with fare paying passengers,” says a source.

Ultimately I think it comes down to the A380 being Etihad’s flagship aircraft, and it’s sort of “wasted” on such a short flight. There’s no way customers can get the full experience, and therefore Etihad likely isn’t able to command much of a price premium in the market because of the A380.

Etihad-A380-Apartment - 46

Paris seems like a logical choice, as Emirates and Qatar also deploy their A380s there.

Keep in mind that that Etihad has only 10 A380s on order, so unlike Emirates (which has 140+ on order), they can’t afford to fly them everywhere. Once this change is complete, Etihad will fly the A380 from Abu Dhabi to London, Melbourne, New York, Paris, and Sydney.

Etihad-A380-Destinations

Etihad’s A380s are well known for The Residence, which is the three room suite with butler service located at the front of the first class cabin.

Etihad-A380-First-Class-24

Etihad-A380-First-Class-25

Abu Dhabi to Mumbai is the cheapest route on which you can try the product, as a one-way fare will run you ~$3,000 (however, you can knock the price down a bit if you originate in Cairo instead). So it’s sad that the cheapest route for trying The Residence will disappear.

Are you surprised to see Etihad pull the A380 from Mumbai?

(Tip of the hat to @deovratk)

Comments

  1. Really sad to read this! Looking at all your wonderful reviews, we saved up and splurged on an Emirates A380 business class over the new years from Mumbai to Milan. We absolutely loved the A380 and were looking forward to trying Etihad’s A380 to Abu Dhabi from Mumbai.

    However it does make sense to fly the A380 on a longer Route. We could barely enjoy the A380 business class experience on a 6 hour flight!

  2. Keep in mind, no airline is able to command a premium for their services, no matter how much, on any route. No matter what, they have to match whatever the fare is for the class of service requested. The days of charging a premium for a380 service ended a LONG time ago. Mumbai is just a low fare market. Paris is somewhat higher yielding. That’s it- nothing about not being able to raise the fares to Mumbai for the a380. It’s simply a time of the day at AUH when there isn’t enough feed to fill the 380 to Mumbai. That’s it.

  3. We will miss the A380 of EY coming to BOM. Have seen this aircraft many a times during sunset hours while landing into BOM from the nearest Metro station.

    BOM isn’t a market of high yields. There are 15-17 flights per day to Dubai, 4-5 flights to AUH. Simply more than 20 flights into UAE from Mumbai alone. Most of them 737-8/A320. Only EK brings 777/380 here. Rest are all single aisle. For 3 hours flight , there won’t be demand for a full first class product.

    Unfortunately Mumbai gets all the 3 A380s for short haul ( EK and Singapore Airlines being other 2) . Hope BA / KA / LH sometime bring their A380.

  4. I think one of the other important factors is that Mumbai to Abu Dhabi is just about a 2 to 2.5 hour flight. Probably this is why the A380 did not really work too well on this market. Further, an important point to note is that Mumbai is rather a high competition market since the domestic and international feeds connect at this point, meaning that for a large part of South and West India, Mumbai is the gateway to the West.
    Also, for a 2.5 hour flight, Etihad was not really able to provide any substantial ground service benefits for its first and residence class passengers in Mumbai.

  5. I’m booked BOM-AUH-JFK next month in F on the 380. I’m glad the change isn’t going into effect until July. BOM-AUH is a fairly short flight, but plenty of time for a shower!

  6. I don’t know why Etihad is not deploying A380 to Chines citiies, where there are so many wealthy people.

  7. FINALLY !! EK and QR already send their A380’s to CDG, considering EY has partnerships with AF it only seemed logical that they would end up sending one here. But that makes me wonder, maybe they couldn’t do it sooner because they didn’t have enough aircrafts ? Etihad still hasn’t recieved all their A380’s yet so maybe this change comes with the future arrival of a new one ?

  8. IMO it’s odd they have A380 service to Melbourne AND Sydney, surprised they have the yields for that. I think they should send one of those to LA considering their marketing campaign began with Nicole Kidman so you’d think they were trying to aim towards celebrities or something

  9. BOM only really suits an A380 when it’s configured in a high density configuration, given the demographics (and even then, it’s arguably better to offer more services on highly fuel efficient planes like the 787 or A350 instead).

    Flagship planes like the A380 are better suited to major ultra long haul routes, not milk crate runs, in premium markets (unless in a high density configuration for those markets not able to sustain much premium traffic).

    Easiest answer as to why EY send their A380 to MEL and SYD is that they get a good fare return for doing so – fares ex Aus are generally much higher than most places in the world, for similar distances, so provided the destination point is attractive to the local market, airlines make decent revenue.

  10. Wasn’t there something about EYs A380 being too heavy to carry the fuel load needed for US west coast flights?

  11. Its sad!
    Though a little surprising, as I have flown Abu Dhabi Mumbai A380 sector in Business 8 times and Economy 3 times – always connecting to USA. The loads have been very high all the times.
    Probably First class has not worked for Mumbai. If it were me, I would never pay First class prices for such a short trip.
    Funny to think that AUH-BOM is still two hours longer than Emirates’ shortest A380 route to Doha.

  12. @ Mike. Surprisingly, both SYD & MEL are high yield. I have never flown on a single EY flight to SYD v.v AUH with a spare First Class seats / Apartment or seen the Residence unoccupied.

  13. Very happy with this.

    I’m doing ARN-ZRH-AUH-HKG-AUH-CDG in Etihad business for my friend’s wedding in Oct (first leg on SAS though). Got the tickets for only 1.5k USD and now I have free pick of any seat on the top deck of the A380.

    I knew this would turn out well when the booking ref included the word “WIN” 😀

  14. Don’t think the switch is going to help Etihad much. Granted the QR A380 is probably the least lavish of the 3 from MENA. My wife and I were the only F passengers in mid Nov DOH-CDG.

  15. But it seems just a seasonal change, eh?

    I tried to search AUH-CDG in November, and there’s none 380 🙁

  16. Would prefer to see them send an A380 to a European country with lower taxes on flights. Britain & France have the highest in Europe and they are the only European countries you can get the EY A380 from 🙁

  17. they need to try to toronto also since its only fly 3 days week abu dhabi to toronto . moslt likely got lot more volume since there are so many indians here to connecting flight through Abu dhabi. emirates flying a 380 3 days week to toronto ans I seen always book full and with good price.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *