Etihad confirms launch of Perth flights

Etihad confirms launch of Perth flights
By admin

Etihad has cranked up competition between the Middle East and Western Australia by confirming the launch of daily flights to Perth from July 15.

The service, long touted by the carrier, will bring its number of weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Australia to 32. Three other Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights are operated by alliance partner Virgin Australia.

Perth will become Etihad’s fourth Australian gateway with the carrier operating a 262-seat A330-200 aircraft on the route with 22 Pearl business class seats and 240 in economy.

It will bring fresh competition to the WA market as Emirates and Qatar already operate to Perth.

Chief executive James Hogan said the flights will cater for passengers heading not only to the Middle East but onwards to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

“Our analysis shows there is a significant business opportunity on the Perth route,” he said. “Overseas visitor numbers are growing at a steady rate of around 7% overall, with several markets, such as Germany, France, Italy and Ireland, recording an increase in visitor numbers of between 8.5% and 30% in the 2012/13 financial year.

“Significantly, arrivals from the Middle East grew at more than 104% over the same period.”

WA residents are also travelling in greater numbers with an average annual growth rate of 8.5% over the past three years.

Hogan added that Etihad's codeshare flights with Virgin Australia to 14 Western Australia destinations strengthened the business case for the launch.

He said there are opportunities for leisure, business and cargo traffic, with the airline set to work with WA tourism authorities to grow holiday arrivals to the state.

Flights will depart Abu Dhabi at 10.10pm and arrive in Perth at 1.10pm the next day. The return leaves WA at 3.55pm and arrives in Abu Dhabi at 11.25pm.

Meanwhile, Etihad will begin three weekly flights to Dallas from December 3 next year, its fifth US port.

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