Virgin Blue partner Etihad has added flights to its schedule over the southern hemisphere winter, increasing connection opportunities for travellers to and from Australia.
The new flights don't open up new destinations for the airline, but they do increase frequencies to five European destinations: Manchester, Paris, Brussels, Geneva and Milan. The new flights, which start progressively from June, are open for booking now.
The extra flights are good news for business travellers, who can now make swifter connections through Etihad's Abu Dhabi hub -- and on more days of the week.
The new destinations and frequency increases are:
- Manchester: from 7 flights a week to 10
- Paris: from 10 flights a week to 14
- Brussels: from 6 flights a week to 8
- Geneva and Milan: from 5 flights a week to 7
Outside Europe, flights to Bangalore and Beijing will also increase. Bangalore will go from 4 flights a week to 7 and Beijing will increase from 5 flights a week to 7.
"The new schedule will help us offer greatly improved connections across the network, making transiting via Abu Dhabi much more convenient for business and leisure travellers. In fact, our sub-four hour connections will increase by 50%," Etihad Chief Executive James Hogan said.
The Virgin Blue-Etihad partnership is a good opportunity for Australian business travellers to earn Velocity points and status credits. It's good to see more flight options coming through now, after Australian Business Traveller first reported on the tie-up a few weeks ago.
Economy class travel on Etihad earns one Velocity Point and Status Credit per mile flown, Business class earns 1.5, and First class earns 2.
Velocity Silver members gain a further 25% boost to their status points earned for the flight, while Gold members will receive 50%.
Reciprocal lounge arrangements are also in place for Velocity Gold members, with access permitted to Etihad's Diamond First Class, Pearl Business Class and partner lounges across the network.