A major restructuring of its order book sees Etihad Airways committing to taking in only a fraction of aircraft that it had sought until just a couple years ago.
Until June 2018, Etihad had 165 aircraft on order including 62 Airbus A350s, 52 Boeing 787s, 26 Boeing 777s, 26 Airbus A321neos, and 10 Airbus A320neos.
Etihad today announced that it was revising its commitments to five A350s, 26 A321neos, six Boeing 777s, and undisclosed number of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, without a set date for when it planned to take them in.
According to a Reuters report, Etihad said it has reached agreements with Airbus and Boeing but did not disclose details of the order changes.
More than $3.5 billion in losses over two years have seen the UAE’s national carrier forced to make tough choices under about its fleet and operations.
In November 2017, Tony Douglas replaced James Hogan as CEO, following which it cut orders for 10 A320neo aircraft as well let go of 50 pilots, a rare commodity in the world of aviation.
Over the summer, as part of its “high-risk strategy” announced by Douglas earlier, the airline said it would offload the operations of its first class lounges around the world to third parties, and indicated it was rethinking whether to take in the 62 A350s it was yet to receive.
Etihad’s restructuring of its orders comes after Emirates - the Dubai-based carrier it has been aligning with ever closely over the last year - significantly announced that it would all but scrap its support for Airbus’ A380 programme.
From 54 A380s outstanding in January, the Dubai-based carrier today slashed its orders to just 14, opting instead for a combination of 70 A350s and A330neos.
Emirates’ announcement came just a year after it placed a life-saving order for Airbus’ superjumbo aircraft.
However, a lack of interest from engine manufacturer Rolls Royce to deliver efficiency at the carrier’s cost and power specifications, as well as the dropping of orders for the aircraft from other airlines including Qantas has effectively doomed the A380 programme.
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