Capping off an outstanding month in Australia, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is enjoying swift success with the addition of the airline’s new Melbourne route.
Since Etihad’s inaugural Melbourne flight on Monday 30 March, the airline has experienced near-capacity passenger loads and extraordinary sales as Melburnians scramble to experience Etihad’s award-winning service and one-stop connection to more than 50 destinations around the world.
With projected sales figures for upcoming flights suggesting upwards of 90 to 100 percent capacity, James Hogan, Etihad’s chief executive officer, said that the route’s success comes as no surprise given the airline’s strong commitment to the Australian market, and the warm response received from Australians during launch festivities.
“As an Australian, it was exhilarating to see the level of anticipation in Melbourne surrounding the launch of this new service,” he said.
“The response to date has shown that Australians have recognised that this new daily service allows air travellers from Melbourne to reach destinations across the globe with greater ease than ever before. Through the launch of this new route and our sponsorship of the Etihad Stadium, we have, and will continue to make major investments to develop and extend our operations and partnerships within Australia.”
The airline will expand its global flight network to 55 destinations during the year as well as grow its fleet to more than 50 aircraft. Etihad flew six million passengers in 2008 to 50 routes with a fleet of 42 aircraft. In March, the airline announced a codeshare agreement with Qantas, which allows Etihad to place its two-letter ‘EY’ code on selected Qantas domestic flights to and from Adelaide and Cairns, providing Australians with new options to fly to Europe via Abu Dhabi.
Etihad CEO James Hogan and Etihad cabin crew celebrate the launch of the airline’s services at Etihad Stadium on 26 March, 2009
Dannii Minogue with two Etihad Cabin Crew at Etihad Stadium
Etihad CEO James Hogan with Etihad Country Manager – Australia and New Zealand, Lindsay White