By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi airline starts nationwide ad campaign in effort to increase market share in Australia
Etihad Airways has launched a major nationwide advertising campaign in Australia in a bid to grow its market share and take customers from homegrown airlines such as Qantas.
The campaign urges Australians to "change to the best" and showcases the airline's "superior product and service offering".
The campaign is part Etihad's ambition to become the airline of choice for overseas travel from Australia, the carrier said in a statement.
It follows a tie-up with the country's number two airline Virgin Blue which was given the green light by Australia's competition watchdog in February.
Qantas Airways, Australia’s largest carrier, opposed the alliance, raising concerns about the impact of prices between Abu Dhabi and Europe.
However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave interim approval for the alliance in September last year before granting full approval this year.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways CEO, said: "We are proud of our success in building the Etihad brand in Australia in just four short years of operation.
"This is all thanks to the hard work of our team in Australia and the generous support of the travel industry and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have chosen to fly with us."
Hogan claimed there was mounting proof that Etihad had brought a superior alternative to the Australian travel market.
"Our market share is growing at the expense of the local competition," he added.
"The alliance with Virgin Australia, in particular, offers Australians a compelling alternative for domestic connections to Etihad international services and the benefits of loyalty program reciprocity.
The campaign will run for five weeks in national print media and in selected metropolitan newspapers and weekend magazines in the key markets of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Between Emirates and Etihad/Virgin they run over 130 flights a week to Australia. What a sad indictment that the national airline of Australia, QANTAS does not fly one single flight a week to the Gulf. QANTAS has forgotten that it is the Australian flagship carrier and has faded into obscurity.