Etihad Airways will start a three flights-a-week service in September to the Australian city of Brisbane from Abu Dhabi. Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland which is home to the world-famous Gold Coast, will be Etihad’s second destination in Australia following the highly successful Sydney route which started in March.
The Brisbane flights, which will operate via Singapore, will provide business and leisure travellers from the Middle East with a frequent service to Australia’s third biggest city.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: ‘Since the launch of our Abu Dhabi to Sydney service, we have been eager to expand our Australia operations even further and Brisbane is the ideal destination to add to our flight network.’
‘Our customers will be able to travel from Abu Dhabi, with a one hour stop in Singapore, to Brisbane which is the gateway to Queensland and the Gold Coast.’
Australia is one of the most popular holiday destinations for UAE nationals with more than 23,000 Emiratis visiting the country in 2006, a seven-fold increase from 1996.
Nationals from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can also apply for a two year tourist visa which allows multiple entries to Australia, perfect for annual family visits.
Margaret Keech, Queensland’s minister for tourism, said: ‘Australia’s cultural diversity ensures that it is an ideal holiday and business destination for visitors from the Middle East. Furthermore not only is Brisbane the perfect launch point for visiting Queensland’s spectacular coastline and countryside, it is also one of the world’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities.’
Etihad will operate a two cabin Airbus A330-200 between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane configured to carry 262 passengers, with 22 in business class and 240 in economy.
Etihad was recently named ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline,’ ‘Middle East’s Leading First Class Airline’ and ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline Website’ at the inaugural regional World Travel Awards, Middle East & Africa ceremony, that took place at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
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