Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways announced that it will begin a second daily non-stop service between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne.
The service is scheduled to begin from August 1 2015, the airline said in a statement. It will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with eight seats in first class, 40 business class seats and 280 in the economy class.
Etihad’s new service to Melbourne will add more than 4,500 seats per week to the route and will double the number of weekly flight connections. It will also double the airline’s freight handling capacity, the statement said.
With the new service, Melbourne will be linked to more than 50 cities across Etihad’s global network that include 20 double daily services to popular destinations such as London, Manchester, Dublin and Beirut.
The airline will also offer connections to Rome, Milan, Düsseldorf and Belgrade through its equity partners.
“We commenced flights to Melbourne in 2009 and it has since become one of the strongest routes on our network,” said James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways.
“The new schedule will offer our guests a choice of two convenient departure times and seamless connectivity over Abu Dhabi to the Etihad Airways and Etihad Partners’ global networks.
“Significantly, we will be the only airline offering double daily non-stop flights between Melbourne and the UAE, and twice daily one-stop services to a vast network of business and leisure destinations worldwide.”
Etihad has carried more than 900,000 passengers on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi route ever since it began services in 2009.
The new double daily service to Melbourne brings the total number of Etihad flights operated between Abu Dhabi and the airline’s Australian gateways to 42.
Currently it operates double daily services to Sydney and daily services to Brisbane and Perth.
Etihad has been in a major expansion drive this year as it launched new services to Medina, Jaipur, Zurich, Los Angeles, Yerevan, Perth, Rome, Phuket and Dallas.