UAE carrier Etihad Airways has launched daily non-stop services, operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi.
The direct service will replace the daily one-stop Airbus A330-200 service that Etihad operated via Singapore, the airline said in a statement.
The Dreamliner will carry 235 guests – eight in first class, 28 in business class and 199 in economy class.
Etihad Airways flight EY484 departed the airline’s home base, Abu Dhabi, at 10pm yesterday and will arrive in Brisbane at 5.50pm.
Return flight EY485 will depart Brisbane for Abu Dhabi at 9.35pm today and arrive in Abu Dhabi at 6am local time.
Etihad Airways’ president and CEO James Hogan said the new service will improve connectivity, linking passengers to more than 30 destinations across the GCC, Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Etihad is also offering access to local airports through its partner Virgin Australia in which it holds a stake.
Currently Etihad Airways codeshares on Virgin Australia flights from Brisbane to Bundaberg, Cairns Cloncurry, Emerald, Gladstone, Hamilton Island, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Moranbah, Mount Isa, Proserpine, Rockhampton and Townsville.
Etihad Airways began with a thrice a week service to Brisbane via Singapore in 2007, increasing its daily frequency on February 1, 2013.
The carrier operates 32 flights per week between Australia and Abu Dhabi, a figure that is expected to increase from August 1 when Etihad begins a second daily service between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi airline also codeshares on partner Virgin Australia’s Sydney-Abu Dhabi services.
Etihad, which is currently facing a wave of hostility from its American and European peers over it expansion policies, also launched an A380 service to Sydney this week.