Etihad Airways Starts A350-1000 Operations

Etihad Airways A350-1000
Credit: Airbus - Jean-Vincent Reymondon

Etihad Airways has begun operation of its much-delayed Airbus A350-1000, with an inaugural flight from the company’s Abu Dhabi hub to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport. 

The airline delayed delivery of its five A350-1000s from the European OEM in September 2019, as Etihad began a business transformation plan to restore its finances. This came after several years of losses following Etihad’s unsuccessful efforts to form a constellation of airlines that would feed their passengers into its Abu Dhabi hub.  

The first aircraft has been named Sustainability50, marking both the 50th anniversary of the federation of the UAE and Etihad’s commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

Formed as a partnership between Etihad, Airbus and Rolls-Royce in 2021, the Sustainability50 program will see Etihad’s A350s used as flying testbeds of new initiatives, procedures and technologies to reduce carbon emissions, building on lessons from Etihad’s similar Greenliner program for the Boeing B787 aircraft type. 

The remaining A350s in the batch are scheduled to be delivered over the coming months.  

Etihad has established a formal framework with Airbus to collaborate on sustainability across areas including the promotion and commercialization of SAFs, waste and weight management, and the development of data-driven analysis.  

The airline’s A350-1000s will be deployed on several short to mid-range routes in the second quarter, including Mumbai and Delhi, before being introduced on ultra-long-haul operations to Chicago and New York from July.

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.