Just last year, Etihad Airways made India one of the 4 select markets where they would launch the A380 service, calling it a very important market for the airline. Etihad’s Mumbai – Abu Dhabi and vice versa service was one of the shortest hops for the A380, and lasted all of 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Turns out, this was not going to last forever. As per the Business Standard today:
Etihad Airways is stopping its Airbus A380 service to Mumbai from July 1 owing to the low demand for premium service in the market.
Etihad Airways launched its A380 service between Abu Dhabi-Mumbai in May 2016. The aircraft seats 496 passengers and boasts of three-room private cabin called The Residence, in addition to first, business and economy classes.
I travelled the Mumbai – Abu Dhabi flight a few times, the first time in a leased 77W from Jet Airways, the second time in the Airbus A380 Apartments and the route hardly did any justice to the plane. You don’t have any time to use the facilities such as the shower and the apartment as the meal service takes up the entire flight for the premium cabin service.
As per the airline, they are deploying the Airbus A380 on the Abu Dhabi-Paris route and Mumbai will get an A340-600 plane instead for EY203/204 which has the old First Class and Business Class product.
It was good while it lasted! Etihad only has 10 Airbus A380s on order so this is not a product you’d see flying in all directions unlike the Emirates A380s. I’m sure Etihad has their reasons and their focus on premium cabin experience did not really work well with the Indian audience who’d focus more on the non-premium cabins.