Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will increase capacity on its daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, introducing a new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from December 1st 2013.
Etihad currently operates three daily flights from London Heathrow and two daily from Manchester to Abu Dhabi where passengers can connect to onward destinations including Melbourne.
The three-class, 328-seat Boeing 777 will replace the current Airbus A340 fleet, delivering 252 more seats per week - a 12.3 per cent increase - between the capital of the State of Victoria and the capital of the UAE.
The service upgrade was announced in Abu Dhabi by James Hogan, president, Etihad Airways, at a business dinner hosted by the Victorian government and attended by 400 people.
“Melbourne is one of the best-performing routes in our global network, and has the highest passenger load factor of our three Australian destinations,” said Hogan.
“Victorians are not only flying with Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi, an emerging business and leisure destination, but also on to destinations in the Gulf region, Middle East, Europe and Africa.”
Since launching flights between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi in March 2009, Etihad Airways has carried over 580,000 passengers on the route, including 162,112 last year.
Already this year, a load factor of 87 per cent has been achieved, one of the highest in the airline’s network of 86 destinations.
“Our decision to increase capacity between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi reflects not only the growth we have achieved so far, but also our confidence in the Victorian market,” Hogan concluded.