Etihad Airways is pulling the plug on first class flights from Melbourne as the Virgin Australia partner moves both of its daily flights to a two-class Boeing 787-9.
The Gulf airline's latest schedule reveals that the Boeing 777-300ER which currently flies as EY460/EY461 and includes eight first class suites will replaced by the Dreamliner from October 1, 2018.
The second daily service of EY462/EY463 is already flown by a Boeing 787-9.
While some of Etihad's Boeing 787s feature eight cosy first class suites, those assigned to Melbourne-Abu Dhabi are from a second tranche of two-class jets which top out at business class – albeit with the highly-regarded Business Studio seats (below), so that's a win for most corporate high flyers.
However, with only 28 business class seats against 40 on the Boeing 777-300ER, this also means that points-based business class award bookings and upgrades on EY460 and EY461 are likely to be harder to come by.
The move comes almost a year after Etihad canned its Airbus A380 flights from Melbourne, which removed not only the extravagant Residence three-room 'penthouse above the clouds' but the flagship first class Apartment suites.
As previously reported, Etihad's ongoing Aussie draw-down will also see its Perth flights dropped from October 2018.
Etihad also withdrew its first class service to Brisbane in December 2016 when the airline migrated from a three-class Boeing 787 fitted with first class, to a two-class Dreamliner maxing out at business class.