Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will commence daily flights to Perth, Western Australia on July 15, 2014.
The non-stop services between the airline’s hub and its fourth Australian gateway bring to 351 the number of weekly flights which Etihad Airways operates between Australia and Abu Dhabi.
An Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 262 seats – 22 seats in Pearl Business Class and 240 in Coral Economy Class – will fly the route.
Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive James Hogan said the new flights would be the first non-stop services between Western Australia and Abu Dhabi.
“The new services will build the first ever commercial air bridge between Perth and Abu Dhabi and will cater to the growing demand for travel between these two points and beyond to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
“Our analysis shows there is a significant business opportunity on the Perth route. Overseas visitor numbers are growing at a steady rate of around seven per cent overall – with several markets to which we fly – such as Germany, France, Italy and Ireland – recording an increase in visitor numbers of between 8.5 per cent and approximately 30 per cent in the 2012/13 financial year. Significantly, arrivals from the Middle East grew at more than 104 per cent over the same period.
“Western Australians, too, are travelling overseas in increasingly large numbers with an average annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent over the past three years.
“Our flights are timed to offer travellers the convenience of daily departures and seamless connectivity to our global network over the Abu Dhabi hub.”
Mr Hogan highlighted the importance of the airline’s partnership with Virgin Australia to the success of the route.
“Our partnership with Virgin Australia and codeshare flights to 14 towns and cities in its Western Australia regional network adds immensely to the strength of the business case for the route and the appeal of our consumer offering.
“From day one, travellers throughout Western Australia will be able to connect seamlessly in Perth to our international flights; likewise, international travellers will have the opportunity to explore the state’s abundant visitor attractions and diverse landscapes.
“Together, we will offer travellers a winning proposition – the convenience of a single ticket purchase, through-checked baggage, convenient flight connections, and best-in-class service.
“We will also be well positioned to contribute to the economic development of regional centres through increased state-wide tourism flows and look forward to working with tourism authorities to achieve this outcome.”
Mr Hogan also identified a significant new opportunity for revenue growth from the business travel segment and from freight.
“Eighty of the top 300 Australian companies have their headquarters in Perth and many of these have commercial interests in Africa and the Middle East. Equally, many UAE businesses have a strong presence in Australia, particularly in the agribusiness, resources and tourism sectors. We anticipate that this will translate to strong demand for our new services.
“On the cargo front, we will aggressively pursue a stake of the current volume of outbound freight and will look to develop additional revenue streams from areas that have not yet been fully developed.”
Etihad Airways codeshares with Virgin Australia to Albany, Broome, Busselton, Derby, Esperance, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kununurra, Karratha, Learmonth, Paraburdoo, Port Hedland, Ravensthorpe and Newman.
The new Perth flights augment Etihad Airways’ existing services to Australia – double daily to Sydney in conjunction with Virgin Australia, and daily to Brisbane and Melbourne.
1. Includes three Sydney-Abu Dhabi services operated by Virgin Australia
New Abu Dhabi-Perth schedule, effective July 15, 2014
About Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, began operations in 2003, and in 2012 carried 10.3 million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways offers flights to 97 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, with a fleet of 87 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and over 220 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 25 Boeing 777-X, 62 Airbus A350s, and 10 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Etihad Airways holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Jet Airways. Subject to regulatory approval, Etihad Airways will launch a new airline brand in Q1 2014, Etihad Regional, after taking a 33.3 per cent stake in Swiss carrier Darwin Airline. The airline will also acquire 49 per cent of Air Serbia from January 2014. For more information, please visit: www.etihad.com