Etihad's Sydney swap: Airbus A380 replaced by Boeing 777 to mid-2019

Etihad's Sydney swap: Airbus A380 replaced by Boeing 777 to mid-2019

Etihad Airways will downgrade one of its two daily Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights to a Boeing 777-300ER from October 2018 to late May 2019, except for an eight-week window over the peak summer season.

Flight EY451 – which departs Sydney at 3pm for a midnight arrival into Abu Dhabi – and the EY450 return leg will step back to a Boeing 777 from 20 October 2018 to 4 December 2018, and then again from 7 February 2019 to 30 May 2019.

Between the December-February dates listed above, EY451/EY450 will see a return of Etihad's Airbus A380.

However, the airline's other daily service (EY454/455) will continue to feature the superjumbo.

What's the impact on this on business travellers already booked to fly on EY450/EY451?

Etihad's Airbus A380 has the better business class seat

We'd suggest contacting Etihad Airways, your travel agent or travel manager to shift onto flights EY454/455, given that the Boeing 777 has Etihad's last-generation business class seats – while still decent, they're a step behind the A380's Business Studio design – and lacks the superjumbo's Lobby social lounge/bar area.

Take a break from your seat and socialise in the A380's Lobby area

Of course, the first class experience is markedly different, with the Boeing 777 sporting rather compact suites compared to the A380's spacious Apartments (below) and inflight shower.

Etihad's Airbus A380 first class suites are among the best in the sky

A statement issued by Etihad Airways said the swap was made necessary "due to routine maintenance" and promises the airline "will notify guests booked on these services where necessary, to advise them of this temporary adjustment."

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • russell


    2 Aug, 2018 11:03 am

    Hard to remember a time when Etihad actually had something positive to announce.
    No member give thanks

  • mnc


    2 Aug, 2018 07:34 pm

    so true russell...
    they lost a lot of money on bad investments but destroying their core product (aircraft down grade, no chauffeur drive, no pijamas...) isnt going to help their bottom line.
    No member give thanks

  • Tasclean


    3 Aug, 2018 05:57 pm

    Something positive ? - great new PJ's, caviar - had both recently LHR/AUH but that was in F.. Nicest flight almost ever.
    No member give thanks

  • Matt


    2 Aug, 2018 11:38 am

    One more time around the drain they circle.
    No member give thanks

  • Vik Jay


    2 Aug, 2018 11:58 am

    Guess we have to wait till April'19 to hear that the aircraft change is permanent!
    No member give thanks

  • mickeyg


    2 Aug, 2018 01:29 pm

    Swapping the a380 with a 787 would have made more sense to me. Keeping the Business Studio for continuity across all flights and leaving First Class Suites to 1 flight per day.
    No member give thanks

  • cssaus


    2 Aug, 2018 05:53 pm

    Thankfully avoided the downgrade by 3 days!
    No member give thanks

  • grahama33


    2 Aug, 2018 07:12 pm

    Oh the joys of 10 abreast seating on a 777 !
    Member who gave thanks


  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    2 Aug, 2018 09:30 pm

    I fly from Melbourne, so I have only had their 777, and the seats were good... but the plane is such a truck I only did it once. The same seat on a 380, or 350, or 787.. I can see why people wouldn't be happy

    No member give thanks

  • Andrew Dwyer


    3 Aug, 2018 04:04 pm

    The mid afternoon departure from Melbourne is a 787 these days. Well worth it if it fits with your schedule!
    Member who gave thanks

    Notso Swift

  • Matt Stevenson


    3 Aug, 2018 01:00 pm

    Anyone notice that the Emirates EK417 SYD - DXB flight has also been downgraded to an 777 as well?
    At least for the past few weeks anyway.
    Member who gave thanks

    Neil R

  • CWT Traveller

    CWT Traveller

    3 Aug, 2018 04:01 pm

    Hey - in Perth we are down to an A330 on the AUH route. I think Etihad's day of being real competition to EK/QR are numbered. Maybe it will be ME2 in a few years with Etihad getting absorbed into it bigger brother with a Dual Hub strategy. Great way to get past congestion at DXB
    No member give thanks

  • Traveller14


    5 Aug, 2018 03:29 pm

    EY has announced big losses for two consecutive financial years.

    As you imply, is this sustainable forever or do lenders one dy attempt to pull the pin?

    The world of high finance is sometimes a mystery to those of us not in it. I often wonder how some corporations can go on losing money year after year yet remain in business. I couldn't do that as a household (well, not without govt support).
    No member give thanks

  • Tasclean


    5 Aug, 2018 10:20 pm

    Traveller14 - think you answered yr own comment in the last sentence: not without govt support...

    No member give thanks

  • Nezza


    3 Aug, 2018 05:33 pm

    Unfortunately the final nail with me and Etihad, I’m one trip away from Gold so I’m not the most frequent of traveller on this thread, however after recent experiences in Business with a downgraded service, a poor roll out of economy “reserve the empty seat next to you” where I provided valid, honest and genuine feedback in the early stages only to be referred to their t&c’s as to why I wasn’t provided with what I had paid for, and finally the overall down grade of the service which is extremely notable on UK to SYD.
    I praise their innovation, customer service (-3 years ago) but today’s Etihad is unfortunately a shadow of their capabilities and is a waste in the investment they have made over the last decade.
    They’ve been hurt by the strategy of trying to reform other airlines and lost their way in the product they created and believed in.
    Good luck Etihad but I won’t be booking anytime soon.
    Members who gave thanks

    cssaus, spudseamus

  • spudseamus


    18 Aug, 2018 05:52 pm

    I was going to write a similar report but you have covered every point .
    No member give thanks

  • Gerard Forsayeth


    3 Aug, 2018 07:22 pm

    Sadly, we're flying out on the 26th. I specifically booked via SYD (from MEL) so as to fly the 388. Hmmm...
    No member give thanks

  • PLA


    3 Aug, 2018 10:58 pm

    I’ve flown Etihad’s A380 twice SYD-LHR return this year in F - nothing in the world matches Etihad Apartments & service (except The Residence & that ain’t gonna happen!). June 2019 next - A380 F Apartments...counting down the days. Etihad A380 First - world’s best.
    No member give thanks

  • Gerard Forsayeth


    4 Aug, 2018 08:37 am

    We did F to LHR last year. Superb!
    No member give thanks

  • Gerard Forsayeth


    4 Aug, 2018 08:36 am

    Huzzah! I checked and we're on 454/455!
    No member give thanks

  • Dec1971


    8 Aug, 2018 08:45 pm

    I fly Etihad A380 F twice a year to London and have not had a bad experience. Sadly the experience, whilst still excellent, is being diluted by some of the recent cut-backs in ground services, no limo service at SYD or LHR, however I won't let anyoje fault the apartments. Just a lovely experience in the air. The 777 just does not compare. The 787 is great though if you can find one.
    No member give thanks

  • aparasher


    29 Sep, 2018 07:49 am

    Will the seating arrangement remain 2-3-2? Or, changed to 2-2-2? Although I prefer 2-3-3 when flying with family.
    No member give thanks

  • RyanK


    12 Nov, 2018 08:33 am

    I'm on EY451 for 18 Dec but I just received notification that the aircraft has been downgraded to B777. I am also positioning from MEL. So gutted.
    No member give thanks

  • Michelle Raymond


    5 Jan, 2019 07:44 am

    I booked a reward flight on A380 on 31/12/2018 for travel Sept 2019 and have been notified now of change and now the plane is sitting as unknown. AUH to SYD.
    Seriously if they are going to change it, it would be nice if they just did it so you knew what you were in for upfront. Not happy.
    No member give thanks


20 Jul, 2019 06:06 pm


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