Emirates and Etihad have been granted additional traffic rights to Australia following the signing of a new air services agreement.
Under the new arrangements announced on Friday Dubai-based Emirates will be able to operate 105 services to Australia each week to the four major gateways of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, an increase of seven from the previous agreement.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has also received seven additional frequencies to Australia’s four largest airports, lifting its cap to 56 flights a week.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss says Australian travellers and businesses have “benefited enormously from improved access to the global hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with over three million passenger journeys in the past 12 months alone”.
“I am confident the arrangements settled this week will only strengthen our aviation relationship further,” Truss said in a statement on Friday.
“The Australian Government is committed to supporting the entry of Australian airlines into foreign markets and ensuring we have the aviation capacity necessary to meet future demand.”
The expanded bilateral between Australia and the United Arab Emirates was agreed to at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) air services negotiation event held in Turkey this week, Truss said.
United Arab Emirates-based airlines also have unlimited traffic rights to destinations other than the four major gateways.
Currently, Emirates serves Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney with 77 flights a week from its Dubai hub. The airline also has 28 flights a week between Australia and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Etihad has a total of 39 flights a week from its four Australian ports – Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney – to Abu Dhabi.
On the Australian side, Virgin Australia has three flights a week between Sydney and Abu Dhabi, while Qantas operates a daily flight from Sydney and Melbourne to Dubai, with both services continuing onto London Heathrow.
Australian carriers have also received an additional 14 frequencies for flights to the UAE and beyond under the new bilateral and are now able to operate up to 156 flights a week.
The Cabin Pressure column in the December edition of Australian Aviation, on sale November 26, has more on the Australian inbound travel market.