ABU DHABI, 2nd June 2016 (WAM) – Etihad Airways much-anticipated A380 touches down in Melbourne tonight, beginning a new era of luxury travel on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi and Melbourne-London routes.
The A380 features The Residence, the world’s first three-room private suite on a commercial aircraft, as well as ground-breaking innovations in all cabins.
The inaugural Abu Dhabi-Melbourne A380 flight – EY460 – departed Abu Dhabi Airport at 10.15pm last night and is scheduled to arrive at Melbourne Airport at 5.45pm this evening. The aircraft, in the airline’s eye-catching ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi livery, will be welcomed to the Victorian capital by a traditional water cannon salute. The return Melbourne-Abu Dhabi flight – EY461 – will depart Melbourne at 10.10pm tonight.
From today, the flagship superjumbo will operate one of the airline’s double daily flights between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi. It will replace one of the three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft currently deployed on the route.
Etihad Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing, Shane O’Hare, said: “Today marks another major milestone for Etihad Airways in Australia.
“With Melbourne joining our A380 network, Australia is the only country in our global network with daily A380 services to two cities – Melbourne and Sydney.
“Deploying our latest technology aircraft and class-leading product and service to Australia recognises its importance to our business and the strong demand from Australian travellers for premium travel experiences.
“From the product and service innovations in every cabin to our inspired approach to hospitality, the Etihad Airways A380 offers touches of luxury to every guest and sets the benchmark for inflight comfort, entertainment, connectivity and service.
“As an added bonus for guests whose destination is London, we now offer the convenience and class-leading comfort of an all-A380 service all the way.”
The A380 will increase the total number of two-way seats on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi route by 26 per cent to more than 11,500 seats per week.
Mr O’Hare said this would ease the capacity constraints on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi, particularly for business and premium leisure travel.
“Our Abu Dhabi to Melbourne services generate very high seat load factors year-round.
“The A380, with 70 seats in business class, enables us to better meet the demand we have for our premium cabins and will boost our market share of this important segment.”
Lyell Strambi, CEO Melbourne Airport, said: “We are delighted to welcome Etihad’s flagship service, the Airbus A380, to Melbourne Airport.
“Our partnership with Etihad continues to go from strength to strength since the airline’s arrival to Melbourne Airport in 2009. Last year we were thrilled by the introduction of a second daily service between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi and a new Premium Lounge opened at Melbourne Airport last month. Now, capacity has been increased again with the upgauge to an A380, replacing one of the airline’s daily 777 services.”