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Etihad Airways Announces Operational Update and Restart Plans

Etihad Airways announced on Thursday that they have operated 500 special passenger, belly-hold freight and cargo flights during the crisis. They have also initiated an extensive maintenance program and plan on operating limited passenger flights from May 1, 2020.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner - Courtesy Etihad Airways

Yesterday (April 16, 2020), Etihad Airways announced an operational update and outlined plans to restart limited scheduled passenger service from May 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020, subject to the lifting of UAE government travel restrictions. During the COVID-19 crisis the carrier has operated 500 special passenger, belly-hold freight and cargo flights worldwide. Additionally, the carrier has instituted the most extensive maintenance program in their history and has implemented policies that provide greater support for guests affected by COVID-19 related cancellations. In Thursday’s announcement, Etihad Aviation Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Tony Douglas said,

“The term ‘unprecedented’ is currently the most used in our industry, and the most appropriate. The monumental challenges being faced by all airlines, and our customers, have been beyond measure. However, we remain cautiously optimistic and will push ahead with our plans to resume normal flying, while striving to better serve our customers and our employees. While the intention is to assume a ‘business as usual’ approach to the restart of our operations, the aviation landscape has changed, and how it will look month by month is difficult to predict. This has necessitated a fundamental shift in focus for us. However, the cumulative gains achieved by our ongoing transformation, and the unwavering support of our shareholder, has left us in a relatively strong position to withstand any instability. We are implementing a series of network-wide route and fleet efficiencies, while conducting an extensive brand study and trialing new concepts in our guest experience proposition. We are also using this time to drive further internal improvements in the efficient use of automation and technology across all areas of the business, while maintaining productivity, creativity and quality.”

Etihad Airways is currently operating 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 777-300ER passenger aircraft (with five more ready for service) to complement its their fleet of five 777-200F freighters. The airline has operated over 500 special passenger, freighter and cargo flights since March 25th and Etihad Cargo is now operating up to 100 turnaround weekly flights to 32 destinations on five continents. Etihad’s inaugural service to Vienna has been postponed from May 22, 2020 until July 1, 2020.

Since 80 percent of Etihad’s fleet is grounded, Etihad Engineering, the carrier’s MRO division, has undertaken the most extensive maintenance program in company history. Maintenance work is currently being conducted on 96 passenger aircraft including 29 Airbus A320 and A321s, 10 Airbus A380s, 38 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 19 Boeing 777-300ERs. Maintenance tasks include minor issues such as seat repairs and updates to Inflight Entertainment (IFE) systems to major maintenance such as scheduled engine changes and aircraft modifications. The carrier’s maintenance team has already laundered around 19,000 seat covers, replaced 40 rolls of carpet and replaced 367 meters of leather. Additionally, around 5,000 aircraft checkpoints have been meticulously inspected and over 4,000 parts have been fabricated in the carrier’s engineering workshop.

Source: Etihad Airways

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