Etihad Airways will launch daily flights to Brisbane early next year as international carriers continue to tighten the screw on Qantas’s struggling overseas network.
Etihad’s announcement comes just after China Southern said it would ramp up to daily Brisbane flights, part of a dramatic increase in that carrier’s Australian footprint.
Etihad, which operates in an alliance with Qantas-rival Virgin Australia, said it would increase its Brisbane flights from three time a week to daily from February 1 next year. The services, aboard an Airbus A330, operate from Abu Dhabi via Singapore.
“Going daily to Brisbane and Singapore puts Etihad Airways in a stronger competitive position and will increase the airline’s brand footprint exponentially in these markets,” Etihad CEO James Hogan said during a two-day stop in Australia.
“These extra flights to Brisbane and Singapore underscore the strategic importance of Australia and the Asia Pacific region and the contribution each makes to the airline’s goal of sustainable profitability.”
The additional Brisbane flights will bring Etihad’s weekly Abu Dhabi-to-Australia services to 28. Etihad has code sharing rights on an additional 14 flights operated by Virgin Australia.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman welcomed the additional flights as a boon to tourism.
“More flights into the state opens up opportunities for international travellers to see some of the many wonderful tourist attractions Queensland has to offer,” he said.