Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has put the State of Queensland within easier reach of more international visitors and will give Queenslanders more convenient access to its extensive global network following the launch today of daily non-stop flights between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi.
Etihad Airways flight EY484 departed the airline’s home base, Abu Dhabi, at 10pm yesterday and will arrive in Brisbane at 5.50pm today where it will be met by a traditional water cannon salute. Return flight EY485 will depart Brisbane for Abu Dhabi at 9.35pm today and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 6am local time.
The new non-stop flights are operated by Etihad Airways’ brand new three-class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner which features the airline’s ground-breaking next generation First Suite, Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat.
The Dreamliner flights offer First Class on the Brisbane – Abu Dhabi route for the first time ever and will replace the daily one-stop services which the airline previously operated via Singapore with a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said the flights were a reflection of Etihad Airways’ enduring commitment to the Queensland travel market and the strong performance of the Brisbane route.
“The commencement of daily non-stop Dreamliner services enables us to offer our strongest ever customer proposition on the Brisbane – Abu Dhabi route and represents a significant investment in the Queensland market.
“By retiming our Brisbane-Abu Dhabi flights with evening departures in both directions and removing the stop in Singapore, we can now offer guests the convenience of shorter travel times and two-way connectivity to more than 30 destinations in the GCC, Middle East, Africa and Europe.
“Our nonstop flights also offer improved connectivity from regional Queensland and guests can now connect seamlessly with Etihad Airways’ evening Brisbane services by flying with partner airline Virgin Australia from 13 towns and cities across the state.
“From a guest experience perspective, the unique features of the Dreamliner aircraft have enabled us to customise it with the most innovative and sophisticated cabins. Brisbane travellers will be among the first in the world to experience the unparalleled comfort and luxury of this ground-breaking aircraft.”
First Class guests onboard the 787-9 Dreamliner will be offered an enhanced suite with a chilled mini-bar, complete privacy and centre seats which can be joined to create a double bed. Business Class guests will have the space and comfort of the airline’s new Business Studios – each offering direct aisle access and a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches in length. In the Economy Class cabin, the innovative Economy Smart Seat provides enhanced comfort with a unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest on each seat.
Mr Hogan highlighted the benefits to the State of Queensland as a result of the upgraded non-stop Brisbane-Abu Dhabi services.
“The commencement of our non-stop flights puts Etihad Airways in a stronger than ever position to attract international travellers to the State of Queensland and to contribute to Queensland’s economic development.
“Our ongoing partnership with Virgin Australia – which offers one-stop travel from our Abu Dhabi hub across Virgin Australia’s regional Queensland network – enables us to offer overseas travellers unprecedented access to the State.
“It’s now easier than ever for overseas travellers to explore more of Queensland’s abundant visitor attractions and its diverse landscapes.”
Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO and Managing Director, said the arrival of Etihad Airways’ 787-9 Dreamliner was an exciting milestone for Brisbane.
“These new aircraft arrivals will always go down in history as significant moments in aviation and we are delighted Etihad Airways’ has committed one of its first 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi.
“We’re proud of our long standing partnership with Etihad Airways that spans more than seven years and the new direct route and upgraded aircraft confirms Etihad Airways’ commitment to Brisbane and Queensland,” Ms Alroe said.
Etihad Airways codeshares on Virgin Australia flights from Brisbane to Bundaberg, Cairns Cloncurry, Emerald, Gladstone, Hamilton Island, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Moranbah, Mount Isa, Proserpine, Rockhampton and Townsville. Guests who travel with Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia are offered the convenience of a single ticket purchase, through-checked baggage and convenient flight connections.
Etihad Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 235 guests – eight in First Class, 28 in Business Class and 199 in Economy Class. Passengers on the B787-9 Dreamliner enjoy improvements such as the industry’s largest windows; air that is cleaner, more humid and at a higher pressure for better comfort; large overhead stowage bins, soothing LED lighting; and technology to sense and counter turbulence for a smoother ride.
Etihad Airways commenced three weekly flights to Brisbane via Singapore in 2007 and increased frequency to daily on 1 February 2013.