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Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has introduced services from Abu Dhabi to Sydney and started twice-daily from Heathrow. The Sydney service is initially thrice-weekly with a flight time of nearly 15 hours. From the UK the airline also offers a daily Abu Dhabi service from Manchester.
Operating the Sydney flight is an Airbus A340-500 configured to carry 240 passengers, with 12 in Diamond Zone (first class), 28 in Pearl (business) and 200 in Coral (economy).
A ceremony to mark the new route was held prior to departure and attended by Etihad's chief executive, James Hogan and the Australian Ambassador to the UAE, His Excellency Jeremy Bruer.
Hogan said: ”This is one of our most exciting launches to date, because Sydney is one of the world's most iconic and strategic destinations. Our customers can now fly between Europe and Australia, via Abu Dhabi, whilst enjoying our state-of-the-art in-flight products.”
Sydney is Etihad's first Australian destination and will provide a popular service for Australian nationals travelling on holiday or business to the Middle East and Europe.
”By starting this new frequent service to Sydney, which will soon become daily, Etihad will be able to fulfil the terrific demand there is on this sector,” Hogan added. ”In due course we will also look to build our flight frequency to Australia.”