Eithad will deploy one of its flagship A380s between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi from 1 June 2016.
The A380 will operate flights EY460/461, one of the airline’s twice daily Abu Dhabi-Melbourne services. It will replace one of the three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft currently deployed on the route.
Etihad Airways’ double daily service from Melbourne provides travellers from Victoria access to more than 900 weekly connections in 50 markets across the Gulf region, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
In a statement issued yesterday, Etihad mentioned that the development would also bring to Melbourne The Residence by Etihad, the airline’s luxurious private three-room suite in the sky, “as well as ground breaking product and service innovations in all cabins”.
Other A380s serving Melbourne include those of Etihad’s larger competitor, Dubai-based Emirates and its alliance partner Qantas. Singapore Airlines sometimes flies them to Melbourne too.
A380s are known too attract strong consumer support, and Etihad’s version is especially luxurious.
Etihad president and chief executive, James Hogan, said the launch of A380 services to Melbourne was “good news for travellers” on the very popular route.
“From June next year, guests on our Abu Dhabi-Melbourne A380 flights will discover what travellers the world over are talking about – the superior level of luxury, comfort, service, and inflight technology that is redefining luxury air travel and transforming the flying experience.
“What’s more, the A380 service from Melbourne will connect seamlessly in Abu Dhabi to the A380 to London, offering our London-bound guests the convenience and class-leading comfort of an all-A380 service all the way.”
The new A380 will increase the total number of two-way seats on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi route by 26 per cent to more than 11,500 seats per week.
Hogan said Melbourne was an important point on Etihad’s global network, and the Abu Dhabi to Melbourne services generated very high seat load factors on a year-round basis.
“After just three months of operations, demand for our second daily service is already exceeding our expectations.
“Deploying the 496-seat A380 to Melbourne will enable us to accelerate our growth in the Victorian market by providing additional capacity, particularly in business class, where demand for seats continually outstrips supply.”
Within Australia and to New Zealand, Etihad Airways codeshares on Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand flights from Melbourne to Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Christchurch, Coffs Harbour, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Kalgoorlie, Launceston, Mildura, Newcastle, Perth, Queenstown, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, and Wellington.
Etihad Airways commenced services to Melbourne on 29 March 2009. It added a second daily service to the route on 1 August 2015. It is the only airline offering double daily non-stop services between Melbourne and the United Arab Emirates.
Edited by Peter Needham