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Etihad Airways to expand strongly in Australia

Staff writer |
Etihad Airways outlined a range of major changes to its Australian operations, including new aircraft, new routes, additional flights and new airport facilities.

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President and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways James Hogan said Australia is a key and long-term market for the airline and one for which there were exciting growth plans.

Mr. Hogan said the airline's future steps for Australia include Airbus A380 aircraft from Sydney and Melbourne to Abu Dhabi, construction of premium lounges at Sydney and Melbourne Airports from 2014, additional flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Abu Dhabi, and nonstop flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi.

Mr. Hogan also reaffirmed that Etihad Airways was already moving to increase its equity in Virgin Australia, following recent approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board to increase from a 10 percent shareholding to 19.9 percent.

"Virgin Australia is a key member of our ever-expanding airline equity alliance, and Etihad Airways is an active and long-term investor in Virgin. We have a significant presence in Australia, with 28 weekly departures, annual expenditure of over $100 million, direct employment of 106 staff and engagement of 415 local contractors," said Mr. Hogan.

The Etihad Airways equity alliance, an alternative to legacy airline alliances, now has five members, following a deal last week to invest in Serbia's national airline. Etihad is awaiting regulatory approval for investment in a sixth airline, India's Jet Airways, which gives the equity alliance a combined total of more than 420 destinations, 500 aircraft and more than 96 million passengers each year.


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