Etihad launches daily flights to Perth
Abu Dhabi, July 17, 2014
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has commenced daily services between Perth and Abu Dhabi.
The inaugural flight – EY486 – touched down at Perth International Airport, where it was greeted by a water cannon salute and a traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony by members of the local Indigenous community.
Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is Etihad’s fourth Australian gateway alongside Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The new daily flight bring to 35 the total number of weekly services the airline offers between Australia and Abu Dhabi.
James Hogan, president and CEO, said: “Today’s inaugural flight creates the first commercial air link between Perth and Abu Dhabi and marks the beginning of an exciting new era of partnership between the state of Western Australia and Abu Dhabi.
“Abu Dhabi and Perth are each popular business travel and holiday destinations – attracting 2.8 million and 7.3 million visitors respectively in 2013 – and we are already seeing a strong commercial response to the new route from travellers in the UAE and Western Australia.”
Hogan also pointed to data which shows that Western Australia is the largest contributor to trade between the UAE and Australia, accounting for 57 per cent of the $A6.4 billion ($5.9 billion) total in 2013.
“With two-way trade between the UAE and Western Australia growing at an annual rate of between 25 to 30 per cent in recent years we are forecasting strong demand for our cargo business.”
Hogan noted interest in travel to Western Australia – particularly from the Middle East, UK, Ireland, Europe and east coast US – and pledged to work with the airline’s government and industry partners to develop these visitor markets.
“We believe there is a significant opportunity to contribute to the state’s economic success by offering international tourists convenient connections to Western Australia – in 2013 alone tourism contributed $A7.7 billion to the West Australian economy through visitor spend.”
Brad Geatches, chief executive officer of Perth Airport, said: “We are very excited to welcome Etihad to Perth. We have been working with the airline for some time now and it is pleasing to celebrate the arrival of the inaugural flight.
“The commencement of Etihad’s Perth operations will add approximately 190,000 annual seats from Perth to the Middle East.”
“When the construction of the Domestic Pier at Perth Airport’s Terminal 1 is complete, Etihad Airways and its codeshare partner Virgin Australia will be co-located in one terminal enabling easy connections to Virgin’s domestic network, as well as regional connections in the nearby Terminal 2,” he added.
Etihad’s partnership with Virgin Australia enabled it to offer connectivity to towns and cities outside the Perth metropolitan area and brought new competition to these markets, said Hogan.
“Our partnership with Virgin Australia enables us to offer codeshare flights from Perth to 13 regional airports throughout the state of Western Australia.”
Virgin Australia will also place its VA code on Etihad Airways’ Perth-Abu Dhabi flights. - TradeArabia News Service