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Etihad to cut Perth and Edinburgh in favour of Morocco

April 18, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Etihad is cutting services to Perth in Western Australia and to Scotland as it reviews its worldwide services – but is boosting services to Morocco.

The Gulf airline is seeking to restore profitability. The expansionist policies of the previous management under James Hogan have been put on hold.

Perth will be dropped from 1 October 2018. The trimming follows last year’s huge loss of USD 1.87 billion, caused partially by one-off charges related to troubled airline investments and a fleet write-down, Perth Now reported.

Etihad still flies to Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne and, in the UK, to London Heathrow and to Manchester.

According to Britain’s Independent, a London woman who paid Flight Centre nearly GBP 3000 (AUD 5520) for a business class flight with Etihad from Heathrow via Abu Dhabi to Perth and back later this year, was told she would now have to fly on the return journey via Melbourne or Sydney because Etihad was ending its Perth service. Flight Centre and Etihad later assured her she would be entitled to a full refund.

The axing of Edinburgh and Perth is among “several adjustments that we are making to our network in 2018 in order to improve system profitability”, according to an Etihad spokesman quoted by Reuters.

Etihad began its Perth services in July 2014, initially with A330s and two years later with 299-seat B787-9 Dreamliners, the same model Qantas uses to fly Perth-London.

Etihad has pulled back from supporting airlines like Air Berlin and Alitalia. It still owns about 20% of Virgin Australia, which it says is considered an important investment, although The Australian has reported that some Virgin Australia shareholders are pondering “whether Etihad is about to stake an exit”.

For Moroccans, meanwhile, Etihad’s presence is growing. From 1 May 2018, a three-class B787-9 Dreamliner will be introduced on the daily service from Abu Dhabi to Morocco’s commercial hub, Casablanca.

Etihad’s Morocco services will enjoy a further boost with a third weekly service to the Moroccan capital, Rabat. The extra flight will operate on Saturdays until 12 May 2018, and also from 30 June to 29 September 2018 to meet peak summer demand, using a three-class A330-300.

Written by Peter Needham

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