Etihad is the youngest among the main middle eastern carriers. The last of the super connector airlines to be launched. Etihad was established only in 2003 and has its home and base in Abu Dhabi. The airline has been through a rollercoaster ride during its initial years and recent times to finally reach the current status quo. So let’s take a close look at what the fleet of Etihad Airways looks like and how it uses its planes.
A Mixed Fleet That Sets Etihad Apart From Emirates
Etihad is pretty much Abu Dhabi’s attempt to emulate what the more famous emirate of Dubai did with its international airline, Emirates. The airline therefore heavily relies on wide body long range capable jets to operate its network.
However one trait that distinguishes it from its so to say “cousin” Emirates is the presence of narrow body planes. Etihad owns and operates a significant number of narrow bodies. These smaller jets are used to operate regional flights, some flights to India and even some rarer ones to Europe.
Although the Etihad fleet isn’t massive, I’ll still split the analysis of the fleet in 2. I’ll first take a look at their narrow body fleet and then move on to the wide bodies.
The EY Narrow Body fleet
Etihad currently owns and operates 21 narrow body planes. They are all Airbus produced and all belong to the ceo family, that is the older generation. Specifically EY flies:
- 12 Airbus A320-200
- 9 Airbus A321-200
These planes all feature a 2 class configuration with real business class seats installed. The A320s feature 16 Business class seats in a 2-2 layout with 120 Economy class seats, while the A321 8 Business class seats in a 2-2 layout and 188 Economy class seats.
You’ll mainly come across these planes on flights to India, Pakistan, the middle east and in some rare instances southern Europe.
The EY Wide Body fleet
While there are only Airbus planes making up the narrow body fleet, there are also Boeing planes making up the wide body fleet. As a matter of fact Boeing makes up the vast majority of the Etihad wide body fleet.
Out of 58 wide body long haul capable planes 49 were supplied by Boeing. Here’s the breakdown of the Etihad Airways long haul fleet:
- 5 Airbus A350-1000
- 4 Airbus A380-800
- 30 Boeing 787-9
- 10 Boeing 787-10
- 9 Boeing 777-300ER
Interestingly Etihad Airways opened to take into its fleet a plane that Emirates still deems non satisfactory for use in hot locations like the UAE, the Airbus A350-1000. Also EY still operates the Airbus A380. However this is mainly out of necessity as the airline as many others faces frequency capping in some extremely congested airports, such as London Heathrow and New York JFK.
Why Does Etihad Operate Narrow Body Planes?
Etihad doesn’t have the same large volumes of passengers Emirates does everywhere it flies. Simply its brand and connection offering still has to make up some ground on the more famous UAE airline.
Therefore it only makes economical sense to have a fleet of smaller planes that are easier to fill than the large wide bodies. I’m sure that if passenger figures rise rapidly you’ll see many more wide bodies on those routes currently operated by single aisle planes.