Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will commence daily flights to Perth, Western Australia on July 15th, 2014.
The non-stop services between the airline’s hub and its fourth Australian gateway bring to 351 the number of weekly flights which Etihad Airways operates between Australia and Abu Dhabi.
An Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 262 seats – 22 seats in Pearl Business Class and 240 in Coral Economy Class – will fly the route.
Etihad Airways president James Hogan said the new flights would be the first non-stop services between Western Australia and Abu Dhabi.
“The new services will build the first ever commercial air bridge between Perth and Abu Dhabi and will cater to the growing demand for travel between these two points and beyond to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
“Our analysis shows there is a significant business opportunity on the Perth route.
“Overseas visitor numbers are growing at a steady rate of around seven per cent overall – with several markets to which we fly – such as Germany, France, Italy and Ireland – recording an increase in visitor numbers of between 8.5 per cent and approximately 30 per cent in the 2012/13 financial year.
“Significantly, arrivals from the Middle East grew at more than 104 per cent over the same period.
“Western Australians, too, are travelling overseas in increasingly large numbers with an average annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent over the past three years.
“Our flights are timed to offer travellers the convenience of daily departures and seamless connectivity to our global network over the Abu Dhabi hub.”
Hogan highlighted the importance of the airline’s partnership with Virgin Australia to the success of the route.
“Our partnership with Virgin Australia and codeshare flights to 14 towns and cities in its Western Australia regional network adds immensely to the strength of the business case for the route and the appeal of our consumer offering.
“From day one, travellers throughout Western Australia will be able to connect seamlessly in Perth to our international flights; likewise, international travellers will have the opportunity to explore the state’s abundant visitor attractions and diverse landscapes.
“Together, we will offer travellers a winning proposition – the convenience of a single ticket purchase, through-checked baggage, convenient flight connections, and best-in-class service.
“We will also be well positioned to contribute to the economic development of regional centres through increased state-wide tourism flows and look forward to working with tourism authorities to achieve this outcome.”