Etihad Airways will add three weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Sydney to operate a double-daily schedule from 6 February 2017. The morning departure from Abu Dhabi – EY450 – and the afternoon departure from Sydney – EY451 – will increase from four to seven flights per week.
This enhancement to the airline’s Sydney schedule comes with the move by strategic partner Virgin Australia to shift its Australia to Abu Dhabi operation from Sydney to Perth from 9 June 2017.
Expanding the codeshare agreement, Etihad Airways will add its EY code to Virgin Australia’s new three weekly Perth-Abu Dhabi flights.
The combined impact of the additional Sydney capacity and new codeshare with Virgin Australia is an increase in the UAE flag carrier’s Australian footprint from a total of 42 to 45 weekly flights.
To maintain schedule continuity, Etihad Airways will operate its three new weekly Sydney services at the same timings as Virgin Australia’s current Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights, on which Etihad Airways has placed its EY code since they began in February 2011.
Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, Peter Baumgartner, said: “Australia is a critical part of our network, and we will continue to add capacity in order to meet the growing two-way demand for business and leisure travel.
“The allocation of our newest equipment, the A380 and B787, to all four Australian gateways, and investment of our next-generation product and service offering demonstrate our commitment to this highly competitive market.”
Mr Baumgartner also highlighted the benefits for travelers of the new codeshare with Virgin Australia and capacity increase on the Perth route.
“From mid-2017, business and leisure travelers on the Perth route will enjoy the convenience of 10 weekly non-stop flights to our Abu Dhabi hub and seamless connectivity to more than 55 cities across Etihad Airways’ global network.”
Among the new two-way connected markets for Perth are Athens, Beirut, Geneva, Istanbul, and a number of African destinations including Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Khartoum and Nairobi.
The additional Sydney flights will be operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER, the aircraft type operating the current EY450/451 pattern. The aircraft is configured with eight seats in First Class, 40 in Business Class and 280 in Economy Class.