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Etihad Airways Becomes Latest Airline to Walk Away from Boeing 777

Etihad Airways Becomes Latest Airline to Walk Away from Boeing 777
Joe Cortez

A second international airline is permanently grounding their entire Boeing 777 fleet, in favor of next-generation composite aircraft. Etihad Airways says they will stop flying the workhorse jet, and will consolidate operations around the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350.

Two months after a Pratt & Whitney engine exploded while a United Airlines Boeing 777 was in flight, another airline says they will stop operating the airframe. Reuters reports Middle East carrier Etihad Airways will also stop flying the aircraft, and consolidate around two next-generation aircraft.

Etihad Parks Boeing 777s for 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A350

Although the COVID-19 pandemic hurt all airlines, each one is exploring a different path towards recovery. For Etihad – once accused to accelerated growth from state-sponsored subsidies – their plan to get back to profitability by 2023 involves becoming a smaller airline.

As a result, the carrier says they will stop operating the Boeing 777 by the end of 2021. The airline currently has 19 777s in their fleet, but will ultimately eschew them in favor of the 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350.

“You will see of us a very focused, a very disciplined operating model,” Etihad chief executive Tony Douglas said, as quoted by Reuters. “Which is heavily built around the fleet of the 787 Dreamliner and A350-1000.”

The airline currently flies 39 Dreamliners and took delivery of five A350s out of a total 20 ordered. The airline has not made a decision on the Boeing 777X project, which has been delayed by the novel Coronavirus outbreak.

Etihad Becomes Second Airline to Stop Flying 777

With their decision, Etihad is the second airline to abandon plans to use the current generation Boeing 777 aircraft. Earlier in April 2021, Japan Airlines announced they would also retire their fleet of 13 777 aircraft with Pratt & Whitney engines, and will replace them with the Airbus A350. Meanwhile, United has not announced when they would start flying their 777 airframes again.

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. edgewood49

    April 26, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Joe I am not so sure they like other airlines are “walking away” rather retiring early for more efficient airframes. The 777 has been and continues to be a workhorse for long haul flights as has been the 380 which airlines are also retiring.

    All this movement is good for the environment, for passengers and the bottom line for airlines. The 380 was just the wrong plane in its time, but what wonderful flights on EK up front ! AF Le Premier was also a great experience especially transferring in Paris

  2. cmd320

    April 27, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    Etihad has really gone downhill in the last few years.

  3. edgewood49

    April 30, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Etihad’s worst trip is US metals bets trip ! When someone fly’s an ME3 airline/flight they are most likely mystified at the cleanliness of the cabins, the FA’s and the service/food compared to flying say AA which is at best, well you get the picture. Back to point has Etihad’s service declined sure as has the majority of other airlines however one must clarify to whom your basing it on, American, United, Delta Air France?

    I have not flown international on US metal in over a decade and don’t intend to anytime soon .

  4. babyg_wc

    May 2, 2021 at 8:55 am

    @edgewood49 “good for the environment” – yawn – you’ve been reading to many plane manufactures press releases. It like saying a punch in the face is better than being kicked in the balls. Fossil fuel powered planes are not good for environment end of story.

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