A recent announcement from Etihad Airways regarding the downgrade of their AUH-MEL A380 service will come as a big blow to the high end travellers of Melbourne.
October 28th will be the final service for the EY A380, and the following day will see the return of its B77W airframe. The most notable difference for passengers won't be felt up the back, it'll be up front where Melbournites will feel the biggest difference as both First and Business class configurations are a generation older on the Boeing 77W fleet.
Etihad's First Class Apartments are widely considered to be the best in the air with lots of room (3.8 sq meters), and world beating service. Passengers who've chosen to fly on this route for the extra luxury that EY provide on the super jumbo will now need to consider rebooking through Sydney, which will then be the sole port of call for the EY A380 in Australia.
In something of a small boost for Melbourne however, Etihad's second daily service into Melbourne will change to the Boeing 787-9 on the 29th of October, but this will only offer the same two class configuration that Brisbane currently receives.
One can only assume the reasons behind the A380 switch.. Maybe poor sales, or maybe a better market has come up! Either way, this will be a substantial loss to Melbourne Airport and its high end travelling public.