Etihad Airways to Introduce 777-300ER on Melbourne Route

United Arab Emirates (UAE) national carrier Etihad Airways is to boost capacity on its daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, Australia later this year as it introduces a 328-seat Boeing 777-300ER on the route from December 1, 2013.  Details of the aircraft switch were announced in Abu Dhabi this week by James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, at a business dinner hosted by the Victorian Government and attended by 400 people.

The twin-engined Boeing 777-300ER will replace a smaller 292-seat Airbus A340, increasing its offering by 252 seats per week, a 12.3 per cent increase in capacity between the capital of the State of Victoria and the capital of the UAE.  Since launching flights between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi in March 2009, Etihad Airways has carried over 580,000 passengers on the route, including 162,112 last year.  Already this year, a load factor of 87 per cent has been achieved, one of the highest in the airline's network of 86 destinations.

"Melbourne is one of the best-performing routes in our global network, and has the highest passenger load factor of our three Australian destinations," said Hogan.  "Our decision to increase capacity between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi reflects not only the growth we have achieved so far, but also our confidence in the Victorian market."

“Melbourne is one of the best-performing routes in our global network, and has the highest passenger load factor of our three Australian destinations.”

James Hogan
President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways' three-class Boeing 777-300ER will offer eight seats in Diamond First class, 40 in Pearl Business class and 280 in Coral Economy class. The airline currently operates 13 Boeing 777s and will add a further five this year, facilitating this increase in capacity to Melbourne.

According to Hogan, Victorians are not only flying with Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi, an emerging business and leisure destination, but also “on to destinations in the Gulf region, Middle East, Europe and Africa.”  In the table below we highlight the estimated final destination of passengers travelling on Etihad’s flight between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi. 

The analysis shows that point-to-point travellers from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi account for 8.1 per cent of the total with particularly large passenger flows into Europe: the largest markets being London Heathrow (19.6 per cent), Dublin (11.0 per cent) and Athens (9.8 per cent).  Interestingly, Etihad Airways held a 10.5 per cent share of bi-directional passengers flying between Melbourne and Europe in 2011, ranking it fourth in this market behind Emirates Airline (21.3 per cent), Qantas (17.2 per cent) and Qatar Airways (10.6 per cent).

FINAL DESTINATION FOR PASSENGERS TRAVELLING ON ETIHAD AIRWAYS’ FLIGHT FROM MELBOURNE TO ABU DHABI (one-way passengers; 2011)

Rank

Destination

Estimated Passengers

% Total Passengers

1

London Heathrow (LHR)

13,388

19.6 %

2

Dublin (DUB)

7,528

11.0 %

3

Athens International (ATH)

6,704

9.8 %

4

Abu Dhabi International (AUH)

5,541

8.1 %

5

Beirut Rafic Hariri International (BEY)

4,299

6.3 %

6

Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG)

3,688

5.4 %

7

Manchester (MAN)

3,358

4.9 %

8

Istanbul Ataturk (IST)

2,314

3.4 %

9

Cairo International (CAI)

1,967

2.9 %

10

Larnaca (LCA)

1,583

2.3 %