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Abu Dhabi, UAE - Gulf carrier Etihad Airways is planning to permanently ground its Airbus A380s and never operate the Airbus A350s it has ordered.

The state-owned carrier is reviewing its fleet strategy after the coronavirus pandemic hit travel demand, which Etihad’s management expects will take years to recover, two sources said.

Etihad may retire its 10 A380s early with them potentially never returning to service after the virus outbreak grounded the airline’s passenger flights in March, the sources said.

Airlines around the world have been idling the double-decker plane because of the impact of the coronavirus crisis on air travel.
On Wednesday, Air France said it was retiring its nine A380s and sources said Emirates was in talks to reduce remaining deliveries of the aircraft.

Etihad is also considering whether to operate the A350-1000, the sources said. They said the airline was expected to make a decision on the fate of the two Airbus wide-bodies soon.

The Gulf-based operator has 17 Airbus A350-100 on order waiting to be delivered.


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