Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways will soon add three weekly flights to Sydney to meet increasing demand on the route, it announced on Tuesday.
The airline will operate a double-daily schedule from February 6, 2017.
The morning departure from Abu Dhabi – EY450 – and the afternoon departure from Sydney – EY451 – will increase from four to seven flights per week.
The additional flights will be operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER with eight seats in first class, 40 in business class and 280 in economy class.
The move will coincide with Etihad’s partner Virgin Australia shifting its Abu Dhabi operation from Sydney to Perth from June 9, 2017. Etihad will add its EY code to the new flights.
The Abu Dhabi airline also said it will operate its three new weekly Sydney services at the same timings as Virgin Australia’s current Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights.
Overall, the additional Sydney capacity and new codeshare with Virgin Australia will increase Etihad’s Australian services from a total of 42 to 45 weekly flights, a statement said.
Etihad Airways’ CEO Peter Baumgartner said: “Australia is a critical part of our network, and we will continue to add capacity in order to meet the growing two-way demand for business and leisure travel.
“The allocation of our newest equipment, the A380 and B787, to all four Australian gateways, and investment of our next-generation product and service offering demonstrate our commitment to this highly competitive market.”
Etihad currently operates direct flights to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
Baumgartner added: “From mid-2017, business and leisure travellers on the Perth route will enjoy the convenience of 10 weekly non-stop flights to our Abu Dhabi hub and seamless connectivity to more than 55 cities across Etihad Airways’ global network.”
Among the new two-way connected markets for Perth are Athens, Beirut, Geneva, Istanbul, and African destinations including Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Khartoum and Nairobi.