Etihad Continues To Build Australian Presence, Eyes More Of Aer Lingus
By Adrian Schofield, Jens Flottau
Source: Aviation Daily
August 17, 2012
Etihad Airways is continuing to build its presence in the Australia market with new flights, and it plans to make further inroads by bringing some of its first Airbus A380s to Australian cities.
The carrier’s latest move is to boost its three-weekly Brisbane schedule to daily starting in February, which will increase Etihad’s weekly connections between Australia and Abu Dhabi to 25 flights.
At the announcement of the new flights in Brisbane, Etihad CEO James Hogan confirmed that Sydney and Melbourne will be among the first four markets to be served by the airline’s initial A380s, in addition to London and New York. Hogan says the first A380s are scheduled to arrive in the last quarter of 2014 or early 2015.
While other foreign carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Emirates Airline have more flights to Australia, Etihad has a major role in the booming Australian market through to its strategic alliance with Virgin Australia.
Etihad currently operates daily flights to Melbourne using Airbus A340-500s and -600s, and 11 flights a week to Sydney with A340-600s. Its current three-weekly Brisbane route is served with Airbus A330-200s.
The UAE-based carrier also code-shares on Virgin Australia’s three weekly flights from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.
Unlike the rest of Etihad’s Australia flights, which are direct to Abu Dhabi, the Brisbane route is one-stop via Singapore. Hogan says this arrangement is working well for the Brisbane market, and the airline will focus on the frequency increase before it considers direct flights to Brisbane.