Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has announced plans to suspend flights to the Scottish capital Edinburgh and Australian city Perth from later this year.
Flights from Abu Dhabi to both cities will be halted from October 1 as part of a wider review designed to improve profitability.
The airline said it would work with its travel agency partners to accommodate passengers impacted by the changes and book them on alternative flights.
“The cancellation of the Edinburgh route is one of several adjustments that we are making to our network in 2018 in order to improve system profitability,” the airline said.
Etihad stressed it was still committed to the UK market and its regular services to London Heathrow and Manchester.
It issued a similar statement regarding the Australian market and its flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“Edinburgh and Perth may be at opposite sides of the world but both flights provided vital links to global markets, and Scottish and Australian passengers will have enjoyed the ability to connect with international destinations via the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub. The impact of the cancellations will be felt beyond the city pairs,” said Dominic Ellis, editor of Business Traveller Middle East.
“The only options for Scottish inbound and outbound passengers now will be to change planes at hubs such as London Heathrow or Amsterdam Schiphol, although it may prove to be a boost for Emirates, which might consider raising Glasgow capacity.”
The airline said in February it was pulling five Boeing 777-200LR passenger jets from its fleet after deciding last year to drop some flights that the aircraft were used on.
These included flights to San Francisco and Dallas Fort Worth it suspended in October and March respectively.
Sources told Gulf Business in January that the airline was preparing to cut up to 10 per cent of pilots to cut costs after posting a $1.87bn loss in 2016.
Etihad denied the figure but said it had asked pilots to take voluntary unpaid leave.