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Etihad to phase out Boeing 777-300ERs

Aviation Updates Philippines – As part of efforts to cut costs, Etihad will phase out operations of its Boeing 777-300ER jets by the end of the year.

Image: Etihad Boeing 777-300ER (Credit: Etihad)

Targeting a return to profit in 2023 by becoming a smaller airline, the decision is part of a restructuring plan that has been accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the online World Aviation Festival, Etihad CEO Tony Douglas said: “You will see of us a very focused, a very disciplined operating model which is heavily built around the fleet of the (Boeing) 787 Dreamliner and (Airbus) A350-1000.”

Of its 93 aircraft fleet, Etihad currently has 19 Boeing 777-300ERs which due to the pandemic have been used on cargo flights. According to planespotters.net, the aircraft were delivered between 2006 and 2014. While the oldest of the jets has been in service for over 15 years, the average age of the 777-300ER fleet is around 10.4 years. Around half of the 777-300ERs have an age of around 8 years of service or less.

Etihad currently has 39 Boeing 787s (30 787-9 and 9 787-10), and 5 Airbus A350-1000s from an order of 20 of the jets.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline previously retired their Airbus A330s and its 10 Airbus A380s have been grounded for over a year since March 2020. During the World Aviation Festival, Douglas added that the A380 is “a wonderful product… but they are no longer commercially sustainable. So we have taken the difficult decision to park those machines up indefinitely.”

While Etihad plans to phase out the current batch of passenger 777s, the airline has orders for the Boeing 777X. However, Boeing expects the new and larger version of the 777 family of jets to enter service by the end of 2023 – 3 years later than originally planned.

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