By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi airline announces plan to start non-stop services to Australian city from July 15
Etihad Airways will commence daily flights to Perth, Western Australia on July 15, next year, the airline has announced.
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, it said in a statement.
An Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 262 seats will fly the route, it added.
Etihad's president and CEO 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," he said.
"Our analysis shows there is a significant business opportunity on the Perth route," he added.
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."
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," he said.
"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's existing services to Australia - double daily to Sydney in conjunction with Virgin Australia, and daily to Brisbane and Melbourne.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.