Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today outlined a range of major changes to its Australian operations, including new aircraft, new routes, additional flights and new airport facilities. The airline’s plans for Australia include:
- Airbus A380 aircraft from Sydney and Melbourne to Abu Dhabi
- Construction of premium lounges at Sydney and Melbourne Airports from 2014
- Additional flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Abu Dhabi
- Commencement of nonstop flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways is also increasing its equity in Virgin Australia, following recent approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board to increase from a 10% shareholding to 19.9%. This Virgin Australia partnership enables Etihad to better connect passengers from 45 destinations in Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia, to their extensive global network based out of Abu Dhabi.
Etihad Airways is also awaiting regulatory approval for investment in a sixth airline, India’s Jet Airways, which gives the equity alliance a combined total of more than 420 destinations, 500 aircraft and more than 96 million passengers each year.