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Mon 6 Jan 2020 06:14 PM

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Etihad Airways waives flight change fees for Australians as bushfires rage

UAE flag carrier says the waivers apply for travel to and from Australia which deployed troops to fire-ravaged regions across three states on Monday

Etihad Airways waives flight change fees for Australians as bushfires rage

Reserve troops were deployed to fire-ravaged regions across three Australian states on Monday after a torrid weekend that turned swathes of land into smouldering, blackened hellscapes.

Etihad Airways said on Monday it will waive fees for flight changes for Australian residents affected by the ongoing bushfires in the country.

In a statement, the UAE flag carrier said: "In response to the country’s devastating bushfires, Etihad Airways will waive flight change fees for Australian residents affected by this ongoing national emergency."

"The waivers will apply for travel to or from Australia," it added.

Etihad described Australia as a key market in its global network with the three largest cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, all served daily.

The move comes as some 16,000 Australian nationals live and work in the UAE, the statement said.

The airline also advised UAE-based Australians, or those in Australia seeking changes to their Etihad flights as a result of the fire emergency, to contact Etihad Guest Services.

"In addition to passenger fee waivers, the airline will also work in partnership with Emirates Red Crescent to raise funds within the UAE to help support bushfire relief," the airline said.

Reserve troops were deployed to fire-ravaged regions across three Australian states on Monday after a torrid weekend that turned swathes of land into smouldering, blackened hellscapes.

The bushfires have now destroyed an area the size of Ireland, according to official figures, and authorities warned the months-long crisis is not over as another heatwave looms.

Firefighters joined by fresh teams from the US and Canada were taking advantage of rainy and cooler conditions to tackle out-of-control blazes ahead of soaring temperatures forecast later this week.

Military teams, in the biggest-ever call up of reserves, fanned out across eastern Australia to help emergency services assess the damage, restore power and deliver supplies of food, water and fuel to cut-off communities.

For the first time in Australian history the government also deployed its medical assistance team -- normally sent to other nations to lend support in the aftermath of their disasters -- to help evacuees.

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