The double-decker aircraft will touch down in Sydney on Monday evening, marking the start of a new daily A380 service. Flights will leave Abu Dhabi at 2200, arriving in Sydney at 1755 the next day. The return service will then depart at 2125, getting back into the UAE capital at 0615 the following morning.
This will operate alongside a second service departing every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The deployment of the A380 will offer Australian passengers Etihad’s newest and most luxurious cabin products, including the 11.6m² Residence by Etihad, which includes a private shower, double bedroom and living area.
There are also nine First Apartments, which feature 204-metre-long flat beds and offer access to a shower room, plus 70 Business Studios, which also convert into flat beds, and 417 economy class seats. Passengers in all cabins are offered access to Wi-Fi, in-flight entertainment, USB ports and power sockets. There is also a bar area for premium passengers.
“Today marks another major milestone in the short history of Etihad Airways. Guests on the A380 between Sydney and Abu Dhabi will enjoy a superior level of luxury, comfort, service, and in-flight technology that will totally transform their flying experience,” said James Hogan, Etihad’s president & CEO.
“Furthermore, the A380 out of Sydney connects seamlessly at the Abu Dhabi hub to the A380 to London, offering our London-bound guests the comfort and convenience of an all-A380 service all the way.”
Etihad welcomed its A380 late last year and started deploying the aircraft on the London route at the start of 2015. The launch of the 498-seat A380 to Sydney will increase the total number of seats on the route by 30%.
“In 2014, we achieved an 88% load factor on our Sydney route. The A380 will provide us with much-needed additional capacity, particularly in business class, where we consistently enjoy high levels of demand for our services,” said Hogan. “This capacity increase is particularly good news for our premium guests and for high-end leisure and business tourism at both ends of the Sydney-London route.”
Etihad’s partner Virgin Australia will codeshare on the new A380 services.