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Etihad has pulled its entire A330 freighter fleet from service and placed the aircraft in storage, in what is likely to be part of a company-wide restructuring plan.
Removing the five A330-200Fs – one of which is known to be leased from Altavair AirFinance – has left the Abu Dhabi-based carrier with just five 777 freighters on active duty.
The carrier has been operating A330Fs since late 2010, with the fifth of the fleet coming into service just 11 months ago.
A spokesperson for the carrier confirmed the aircraft had been removed from service, adding: “It is normal airline industry business practice to continuously review aircraft requirements and to make modifications to the fleet when and where necessary.”
Planespotters.net reports that the aircraft were removed from service between 28 December and 11 January.
It claims three of the planes are being stored at Abu Dhabi International, the other two at Al Ain International.
At the tail-end of 2016, Etihad announced it would conduct a strategic review, following the failure of its acquisition strategy to generate sufficient growth.
Meanwhile, as of today, Etihad – along with rivals Emirates, Qatar Airways and Saudia, as well as Egyptair and Royal Jordanian – must provide US authorities with more information on the cargo on flights to the US. The TSA and CBP asked for extra protections owing to the perceived threat to aviation from the five countries. Turkey is also required to participate.
“In close coordination with CBP, I directed specific carriers to implement strict security requirements based upon recent information that established a need to implement additional security measures for air cargo bound to the United States on both passenger and cargo aircraft,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske to US media.
Meanwhile, Etihad is undergoing a change in personnel as well as fleet and strategy – and in March it ends its codeshare with American Airlines. Chief executive James Hogan was scheduled to leave last July, but it seems the process was sped up after Alitalia filed for bankruptcy, with Ray Gammell replacing Mr Hogan on an interim basis in May.
Tony Douglas eventually took on the role on a full-time basis in September, with the carrier’s cargo chief, David Kerr, announcing a month later that he too would be leaving the company.
Mr Kerr’s replacement, Justin Carr, became vice president of cargo a month after joining Etihad.