Etihad Airways launched its A380 service between Abu Dhabi-Mumbai in May 2016. The aircraft seats 496 passengers and boasts of three-room private cabin called The Residence, in addition to first, business and economy classes.
As part of its launch offer, a return ticket from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi for up to two passengers in The Residence was sold for around Rs 7 lakh. For London and New York, the tickets were priced at over Rs 35 lakh and Rs 50 lakh, respectively.
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.
Etihad will operate an Airbus A340 aircraft on Abu Dhabi-Mumbai route and the A380 aircraft will be deployed on Paris route.
In a statement, Etihad said effective July 1 until October 28, 2017, A380 flights EY 203 and 204 between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai will be operated by an A340-600 aircraft. The A380 will be redeployed on the Abu Dhabi-Paris route during the peak summer travel months.
The change will see Paris join London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney as the airline’s long-haul A380 destinations.
“The adjustments are part of Etihad Airways’ seasonal planning of schedules based on market demand. Due to the capacity change, any affected guests will be reprotected on other flights to their final destination,” the airline said in a statement.