is to launch non-stop daily services from its Abu Dhabi home-base to Melbourne, Australia from March 2009.
Melbourne, which has a population of nearly four million people and is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria, will become the third
destination in the country to be served by Etihad.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer,
said, “Since the successful launch of our services to Sydney and Brisbane, we have been
particularly eager to spread our wings and expand our Australian operations even further. I hope that our new Melbourne flights will also prove
to be a winner for both commercial and leisure traveller alike.”
The UAE is Australia's second-largest commercial market in the Gulf region. During 2006-7, Australia's exports to the UAE increased 45%
to reach Dhs 8.5 billion, while imports from the UAE rose 162.3% to Dhs 6 billion of which Dhs 5.3 billion was crude oil. In the same period,
bilateral trade between the UAE and Australia exceeded Dhs 14.6 billion.
The Australian Embassy in Abu Dhabi estimates there are around nearly 15,000 Australian nationals and more than 300 Australian companies in
the UAE. Around a third of all Middle East tourists to Australia are from the
The activities of Australian companies in the UAE include building and construction, financial and banking services, education and training
services, sports and recreation, health services and oil field supplies.
Etihad Airways will operate a three cabin Airbus A340-600 to
Melbourne, configured to carry 286 passengers, with 12 in first class, 30 in
business class and 244 in economy class.
the airline will also increase its Abu Dhabi to Sydney flights from seven to
eleven per week.
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