Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has launched its maiden flight to Melbourne from its Abu Dhabi home-base.
Flight EY460 took off from Abu Dhabi on Sunday night and landed 14 hours later at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport.
The first Etihad aircraft to touch down in Australia’s second largest city was branded in eye-catching Formula 1 livery just days after the weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park. The Airbus A340-600 featured the official F1 logo and chequered flag on the tail fin.
The launch of the new daily service – Etihad’s third Australian destination after Sydney and Brisbane - brings the total number of international destinations served by the Abu Dhabi-based airline to 51.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “As a Melbournian, I am personally proud of the investment Etihad has made in the Melbourne community. During the last few weeks, we have seen the city’s 50,000 seater Etihad Stadium host several major sporting events and the Etihad-sponsored Ferrari F1 team competing at the Australian Grand Prix in the city.
“We have developed significantly, and in only two years, extended our operations in Australia, launching new routes and significantly increasing our share in this growing market. Our Sydney and Brisbane flights have been incredibly popular, and Australia is a key travel destination for tourism and business alike.”
The daily Melbourne service departs Abu Dhabi at 9.40am and arrives in Melbourne at 7.15pm local time the following day. Return flight EY461 departs Melbourne at 11pm, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 6.20am the following morning (local times).
The flight is operated by a three-class Airbus A340-600 configured to carry 286 passengers with 12 seats in first class, 30 in business class and 244 in economy class.
Etihad now operates 21 services a week between Abu Dhabi and Australia: 11 flights a week to Sydney, three a week to Brisbane and daily flights to Melbourne.
Earlier in March, Etihad announced a new codeshare agreement with Qantas, which will see Etihad place its two-letter ‘EY’ code on selected Qantas domestic services and also to Auckland in New Zealand.
View News Headlines