Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Thursday, September 20, 2007

Middle East airlines change the kangaroo route

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, is to increase its flying programme from Australia following the soaring success of its Sydney service.

In March 2008 the airline will move from seven flights to eleven flights per week between Sydney and Abu Dhabi. This announcement precedes the launch of Etihad services to its second Australian destination, Brisbane on 29th September 2007.

Etihad Airways Chief Executive, James Hogan, said: “We appreciate the combined support of the government of New South Wales, the Department of State and Regional Development, Tourism NSW and Sydney Airport Corporation. We look forward to working closely together in a strategic alliance to further drive the development of trade and tourism between the UAE, New South Wales and the rest of the world."

The increase in flights comes as a result of Etihad’s Sydney service having performed exceptionally well since its launch in March. More than 40,000 passengers have flown on the Sydney-Abu Dhabi route with a 68 per cent seat factor in economy, 85 per cent in business and 78 per cent in first class on the now daily service.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer, said: "Sydney has been Etihad’s most successful launch since the airline began in 2003, which has resulted in us expanding our Australian operation with the launch of Brisbane at the end of September and the increase of our Sydney services next year."

The airline carried more than 1.9 million passengers in the first six months of 2007, compared to 900,000 for the same period in 2006, an increase of 111 per cent. Average seat factors of 65 per cent were experienced for the January to June period throughout the airline’s global network.

NSW Minister for Tourism Matt Brown has welcomed the decision of Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, to increase its flights to Sydney.

Mr Brown said Etihad’s decision would be a boost for tourism, business and jobs in NSW.

“Etihad’s choice of Sydney for additional flights and new routes confirms the city’s status as both a great tourist destination and as Australia’s global city,” Mr Brown said.

Sydney Airport CEO, Russell Balding, similarly congratulated Etihad on their increase in services.

“Since it commenced flying to Sydney Airport in March, Etihad has proven to be very popular with passengers. Etihad has made a very positive contribution to the development of the Australian aviation market.

“The success of Etihad, and its commitment to build its presence in Sydney, is very good news for the tourism industry and for the increasing number of Australians who want to travel internationally.

As part of Etihad’s continued growth, the airline has started flights from its Abu Dhabi base to Milan and will start services to Brisbane, Singapore, and Katmandu in the next two months.

Report by The Mole

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