This is very sad news, especially for Etihad fans like myself. The airline has made quite a number of operational changes involving swapping around aircraft on quite a few routes, one of them being Melbourne.
Sadly, from October 29th the airline will be replacing the A380 service with a smaller 787-9 aircraft. Here’s the full Information courtesy of routesonline.com
Abu Dhabi – Melbourne eff 29OCT17 Operational aircraft changes
EY460/461 777-300ER replaces A380, 1 daily
EY462/463 2-class 787-9 replaces 777-300ER, 1 daily
Melbourne has hosted Etihad’s A380 since June 1st 2016 and the airport even has a dedicated Etihad lounge with a Residence lounge inside of it.
What does this mean for passengers?
- Passengers wishing to fly in the Residence will now have to fly via Sydney as the A380 will no longer be on the route
I’d still 100% prefer to fly the Residence out of Melbourne but sadly that isn’t possible. Sydney also don’t have a Residence lounge and from what I’ve been told, they won’t be upgrading the lounge in the near future.
- You will also have to fly via Sydney if you want to fly in the Apartments, but trust me it’s worth it
This is really quite sad. When Melbourne first got Etihad’s A380 the availability in the Apartments was FANTASTIC! Sydney is a major market and is always packed, as Melbourne wasn’t as busy there would be a lot more award space.
- First Class awards out of Melbourne will be extremely limited
As there will only be 1 aircraft with First Class a day serving Melbourne, getting award space in First Class will be quite difficult. The 777 usually has 2 – 3 seats available last minute on off-peak dates but I could see this being heavily reduced which is a major disappointment.
- Business Class awards could be easier to get
If there’s one positive note about the aircraft changes it’s that Business Class awards might be easier to get. Brisbane and Perth both have 2 class 787’s and the award availability is fantastic!
There’s currently no information to where the carrier will put the A380. Many are saying Los Angeles will get it but the aircraft doesn’t have the range due to the overall weight, Etihad have the heaviest A380 in the sky.
Overall this is really sad to see and it makes me a little annoyed but I’ll still continue to fly them.
H/T – One Mile At a Time