Etihad Airways is planning to operate daily non-stop flights between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi from 1 June 2015.
The flights will be operated by Etihad Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring the airline’s ground-breaking next generation product – First Suite, Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat. The three-class B787 will enable the airline to offer First Class on the Brisbane–Abu Dhabi route.
The non-stop flights will replace the current daily one-stop services which operate via Singapore with a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said the introduction of non-stop flights was a response to strong two-way demand for travel on the Brisbane-Abu Dhabi sector and beyond to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
“Since we started services between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi in 2007, the route has gone from strength to strength and we have now carried more than 520,000 passengers on the route.
“The introduction of the first ever daily non-stop service between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi enables us to build on the route’s robust performance by offering our strongest customer proposition yet – an enhanced onboard experience, shorter travel times, and the convenience of one-stop connectivity to popular destinations in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
“Etihad Airways’ first Boeing 787 will enter the fleet in December 2014 and Queenslanders will be among the first in the world to experience the aircraft’s next generation product and service offering. The brand new First Suites, Business Studios and Economy Smart Seats were five years in the making and I am confident that they will be game-changers for the Brisbane market.”
The Premier Campbell Newman said the Queensland Government welcomed the move to introduce direct flights to Brisbane from Abu Dhabi.
“It is a huge show of confidence by Etihad Airways in the Brisbane and Queensland market and our ability to attract a growing number of travellers,” Mr. Newman said.
“For the travelling public, both business and tourist, the direct flights obviously mean a reduction in travel time, allowing them to enjoy more time in our great state.
“We’re incredibly excited and look forward to working in partnership with Etihad Airways to grow this important market.”
Mr. Hogan also highlighted the significant commercial opportunities for Etihad Airways’ partnership with Virgin Australia.
“Through our partnership with Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways already offers codeshare flights from 15 towns and cities throughout Queensland to our global network of destinations, via Brisbane. The ability to offer convenient one-stop travel from Virgin Australia’s regional Queensland network to our Abu Dhabi hub adds immensely to the appeal and competitiveness of our joint services.
“Our non-stop flights better position Etihad Airways to contribute to the economic development of Queensland by offering international travellers enhanced connectivity to the state’s diverse holiday and business destinations.
“We look forward to working with the Queensland Government and our industry partners to increase business and leisure tourism and to continue the Brisbane route’s success.”
Etihad Airways codeshares with Virgin Australia to Bundaberg, Cloncurry, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Mount Isa, Sunshine Coast, Mackay, Moranbah, Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Proserpine, Rockhampton and Townsville. Guests who travel with Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia are offered the convenience of a single ticket purchase, through-checked baggage and convenient flight connections.
Etihad Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 235 guests – eight in First Class, 28 in Business Class and 199 in Economy Class. The airline currently operates an Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the Abu Dhabi-Singapore-Brisbane route which is configured with 22 seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy Class.
Etihad Airways commenced three weekly flights to Brisbane and Singapore on 28 September 2007 and increased frequency to daily on 1 February 2013.
The airline has strong ties with the Queensland Government and its agency, Tourism & Events Queensland. It has supported major marketing initiatives such as the Million Dollar Memo, and in 2011 donated $1 million to the Queensland Flood Appeal. Its shareholder, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, also donated $30 million to the Government of Queensland to build five category five cyclone shelters for use as multi-purpose centres year round.