back to all news

Etihad A380s for Sydney, Melbourne; Boeing 787s for Brisbane, Perth

By David Flynn     Filed under: sydney, perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Airbus A380, etihad airways, Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Virgin Australia partner Etihad Airways will begin flying both its Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 to Australia over the next few years as the airline gears up against Qantas and Emirates for a bigger slice of the Kangaroo Route to Europe.

Sydney will see Etihad's new Airbus A380 from June 2015 with Melbourne to follow in 2016, Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan told Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of a media event in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Those flights will dovetail at Abu Dhabi to a double-daily A380 service on to London, giving many passengers a long stretch to experience the superjumbo's luxe first class cabins Apartments and The Residence VIP suite, or just the all-new Business Studios in business class.

"We believe the product will be truly unique on the Kangaroo Route" Hogan said. "That's why the aircraft will be operating into Melbourne and Sydney."

The airline's second daily flights from each city to Abu Dhabi would operate on a Boeing 777 which will be upgraded to feature the new Business Studios.

Hogan also revealed plans to upgrade the Brisbane and Perth routes to a Boeing 787-9, which he said would be sometime in 2016-2017 when the airline takes delivery of twelve Dreamliners.

Update: Etihad will launch Boeing 787 flights between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi as of June 1st, 2015.

Etihad currently flies to Brisbane using an Airbus A330, which makes a pit stop in Singapore on the way to Abu Dhabi.

Etihad will begin a daily Perth service from July 15, also using an Airbus A330, adding to the non-Qantas options for WA travellers following Qantas' decision to axe international flights from Perth this month.

Australian Business Traveller is visiting Abu Dhabi as a guest of Etihad Airways.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we’re @AusBT


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 3/3/14 by Ben84

Excellent! I'm looking forward to flying on their A380 next year. Hopefully Etihad adopts showers, a bar/lounge area and perhaps a massage room on the new super jumbo. 

2 on 4/3/14 by Marky

Wish Etihad had non-stop flights between BNE and AUH.

1 on 4/3/14 by Peter

Yes, as do I, but not at the expense of their BNE-SIN flight which is the best product on that route!

1 on 5/3/14 by watson374

Yeah, but their SIN-BNE timing isn't great.

2 on 5/5/14 by hutch

I suspect that once the 787 flies to BNE it will be direct to AUH.

1 on 5/5/14 by Longreach

That'll be "...sometime in 2016-2017". No hurry Hogan, don't bother to fill the obvious large gap in the market.

2 on 10/3/14 by Longreach

They certainly should fly direct from Brisbane to Abu Dhabi, given that they do so from not only the southern capitals but also from Perth, and that their Gulf rival Emirates does so. Good old Qantas of course does not.

The Etihad changeover at Singapore is a nightmare.

3 on 5/5/14 by curly

I wonder if EY or maybe QR will do a limited service to OOL non-stop 3 times a week. I think there is the population to justify it considering they would only need to sell roughly 235 tickets per flight to fill the plane. It wouldn't even be the 500,000 people calling the Goldie home but people from BNE would commute as well as northern NSW folk too. Would also be the only real full service carrier at the airport too for long-haul.

3 on 4/3/14 by Steve

Very cool. 

This will set the new standard for luxury in Sydney.

and a great future use of AMEX points.

4 on 4/3/14 by smit0847

Amazed its a mixed J and F Lounge. They are surely one of the only A380 carriers with their own lounge that does not have a separate F section? Seems like a big oversight.

1 on 4/3/14 by Peter

Actually, mixed J & F lounges are quite common to Emirates as well, with the only dedicated F lounges operated by EK in DXB.

1 on 4/3/14 by Ben84

The mixed lounges run by EK aren't terribly good compared to my LHR EY lounge experience. 

2 on 4/3/14 by Kogglogs

I hope they go with the lounge model used in AUH rather than that used in LHR. In AUH it's all effectively one lounge, the F and J lounges are separated by secure doors to the F section, which is wonderful for those times when the J section is cram packed (which is often). If they use the same format that is implemented in LHR, then well... it's every man/woman for him/her self :S

1 on 4/3/14 by Ben84

I found the LHR lounge to be nicer than the Business lounge at AUH. It depends on what flight you catch.

I took the 9.15am flight out of LHR and the lounge was pretty quiet. The staff came around to offer coffee and the removal of used plates etc was swift. The spa manager came around and organised my massage while I drank my coffee. He came over to take me to the spa later on. 

This isn't my experience in AUH where the lounge was ridiculously crowded (though I managed to score a seat). 

Im flying F the entire time on my upcoming trip. I don't mind a shared lounge if it's anything like AUH. That said, I will look forward to experiencing the F lounge at AUH - I'm sure it's very good judging by the quality of their F suites. 

1 on 5/3/14 by Kogglogs

Yeah... Agreed re the J lounge in AUH. It's usually disgustingly crowded... At least it is whenever I fly through. But at least if you're flying F or a VA Plat flying Y & J you can escape to the F lounge. Whereas in LHR, if you're flying F or a VA Plat flying J or Y and the lounge is crowded... there's nowhere to go. 

1 on 5/5/14 by LoveToFly

The F lounge in AUH is great but must admit the J lounge is not to write home about. That said the Etihad F/J lounge in Dublin is one of the best lounges in terms of service and offerings I have seen anywhere. So they can get it right if they put their mind to it.

5 on 4/3/14 by Andy H

MEL punching well above it's weight regarding A380 services! Can't wait to see what EY has in store for their A380's! Hopefully EY's new MEL lounge can impress too! 

6 on 12/3/14 by lebab

Whatever Etihad adopts in their A380, like other Arab airlines, it still censors movies screening on the entertainment system.  I won't watch censored films so wouldn't fly them again because on a long flight I just watch movies and drink Champagne which Etihad had a problem getting cold enough on my flights from London to Sydney and back.  Qantas for me.

7 on 5/5/14 by Ekflyer435

Wow! Etihad really have set the bench mark for 21st century air travel, I've always preffered emirates, but etihad really have blown me away! The first class apartments are truly wonderful. Its going to be good to see an etihad 787 into brisbane too. 

8 on 5/5/14 by smit0847

The Residence will not work to MEL and will be the reason the A380 doesnt make it to MEL.

1 on 5/5/14 by Mal

So you think that Etihad will pull the A380 off Melbourne because it can't see this one suite? I would suggest that The Residence is a 'money for jam' proposition, that it's pure profit for Etihad. On many routes they will find somebody to pay for it and those which run it empty will not change the overall economics of the A380 with its other suites plus what looks to be a "world's best" business class too. I think your outright statement will prove to be in error, Smit, Etihad will have no trouble getting passengers onto its A380 and even if they don't sell The Residence every flight that will not make the whole thing uneconomical.

9 on 5/5/14 by TheRealBabushka

Very nice Etihad!

Glad you've held back on the bling in your cabin - *Note to Emirates* - A little bit goes a long way ;)

Now Etihad, when are you going to modernise that tail motif on your aircrafts? It still evokes an image of a Gaddafi-Libya-esque despot of an airline.

1 on 5/5/14 by nix584

Re: modernising. Seeing as the motif on the tail is the National Emblem of the UAE, probably never. EY have a very classy, timeless livery at the moment. Hopefully their 'updated' livery will be just as classy.

1 on 5/5/14 by TheRealBabushka

The livery is fine. The gold "Etihad" script and the font used are both modern yet exotic. The motif however is incongruent with the image it tries to convey through its products.

10 on 5/5/14 by Hugo

I could pretend I'm excited about the new F and J class but... screw it, I'm never gonna pay for that anyway.

I'm more excited that I'll be able to fly Etihad out of Melbourne in a reasonable ten-abreast A380 configuration instead of a ridiculous ten-abreast 777. Unless of course they've decided to pioneer the eleven-abreast A380...


Related News Items


Australian business traveller newsletter

Get Updates as they happen, tailored to your preferences, right in your inbox


What topics interest you?