Etihad Airways has upgraded its Australian network with the deployment of new aircraft to two destinations.
The UAE-based airline’s Airbus A380 will touch down in Melbourne today (2 July 2016), marking the fifth global destination for the carrier’s largest aircraft. And also on Thursday, Etihad’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft (pictured top) will touch down in Perth for the first time.
The 496-seat A380 departed Abu Dhabi International Airport at 2215 on Wednesday night, and is scheduled to land in Melbourne at 1745 on Thursday. The return flight will leave Melbourne at 2210 tonight and lands back in the UAE capital at 0625 the next morning.
The A380 will operate one of two daily Etihad flights on the route, with the second service being operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The inaugural Dreamliner flight to Perth took off from Abu Dhabi at 2230 yesterday and is scheduled to arrive in the Western Australian capital at 1350 today. The return flight will depart Perth at 1700 this evening and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 0025 on 3 June. Flights will operate daily.
Etihad’s A380 comes fitted with the airline’s latest cabin products, including The Residence by Etihad, which covers nearly 12m² and features a living room, bedroom and en-suite shower room. There are also nine ‘First Apartments’, 70 ‘Business Studios’ and 415 economy class seats. For premium passengers, there is a lounge area that features two leather sofas and a bar.
The B787-9 Dreamliner meanwhile, comes fitted with 299 seats in two cabins, with 28 Business Studios and 271 economy class seats. It will replace the A330-200 aircraft Etihad previous deployed on the Perth route.
Commenting on the launch of the A380 flights to Melbourne, Etihad’s senior vice president of marketing,
Shane O’Hare, said; “Our Abu Dhabi to Melbourne services generate very high seat load factors year-round. The A380, with 70 seats in business class, enables us to better meet the demand we have for our premium cabins and will boost our market share of this important segment.”
And regarding the Perth service he added; “Since launching flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi two years ago we have enjoyed strong two-way demand from business and leisure travellers on the route. The Dreamliner, which adds 518 weekly seats to the route, gives us the extra capacity needed to meet this ever-increasing demand.”
Etihad now operates its A380 to five international destinations: London, Sydney, New York, Mumbai and Melbourne. Perth also becomes the fifth destination for Etihad’s B787 fleet, following Singapore, Washington DC, Zurich and Dusseldorf. It also plans to deploy the aircraft on its routes to Istanbul, Johannesburg and Shanghai later this year.