Etihad's new Perth flights take off

By David Flynn, July 16 2014
Etihad's new Perth flights take off

Virgin Australia partner Etihad Airways begins daily flights to Perth this week, providing another high-quality international option for WA travellers since Qantas all but abandonded the capital and putting 30 destinations within a one-stop reach.

Read: Qantas CEO – "Why we pulled out of Perth"

Etihad's inaugural flight EY486 arrived into Perth at 1.10pm today, with the return leg EY487 wheels-up from the WA capital at 3.55pm to arrive in Abu Dhabi at 11.25pm.

Etihad's flights will run on an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 22 seats in Etihad's Pearl Business Class cabin and 240 in Coral Economy Class.

Etihad joins Gulf competitor and Qantas partner Emirates alongside Qatar Airways in offering direct flights from Perth to the mid-east hubs of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha with fast connections through to the UK and Europe.

Under Etihad's partnership with Virgin Australia travellers will be able to book a single ticket from outlying WA cities to fly into Perth with Virgin and then onwards to the rest of the world with Etihad – earning Velocity frequent flyer points and status credits all the way.

When the construction of the new Domestic Pier at Perth Airport's Terminal 1 is complete, Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia will be  located in one terminal for easy connections to Virgin's domestic network plus regional connections in Terminal 2.

Announcing the launch of Perth flights last year, Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan said "Our analysis shows there is a significant business opportunity on the Perth route."

"Our flights are timed to offer travellers the convenience of daily departures and seamless connectivity to our global network over the Abu Dhabi hub."

Hogan also identified a significant new opportunity for revenue growth from the business travel segment, citing that "eighty of the top 300 Australian companies have their headquarters in Perth and many of these have commercial interests in Africa and the Middle East."

"Equally, many UAE businesses have a strong presence in Australia, particularly in the agribusiness, resources and tourism sectors. We anticipate that this will translate to strong demand for our new services."

Etihad intends to upgrade the Perth service to one of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the 2016-2017 period as part of a bullish push into the Australian market which also includes Airbus A380s for Sydney and Melbourne plus a Boeing 787 for Brisbane.

Read: Etihad A380s for Sydney, Melbourne; Boeing 787s for Brisbane, Perth

Qatar Airways has also announced plans to fly its new Airbus A350 to Perth in early 2015 as one of the launch routes for the next-generation jetliner, according to airline CEO Akbar Al Baker.

Earlier this year Al Baker told Australian Business Traveller that Perth was chosen both for being an "ultra long-haul route" from Qatar's Doha hub as well as for its importance as Australia's "mineral resources capital."

"The size (of a city) doesn't matter to us, it is the economic activity in that place that matters to us" Al Baker said.

Read: Qatar Airways CEO promises Airbus A350 for Perth in early 2015

Emirates was expected to begin Airbus A380 flights to Perth this year but a cooling in the resources market has reportedly put paid to those plans.

However, in a move to woo would-be Qantas passengers and no doubt cruel Etihad's debut, Emirates is offering double status credits or 'tier miles' in its Skywards frequent flyer scheme for flights from Perth – sufficient to provide Skywards Gold status: after just one return trip in business  class.

Read: Emirates woos Perth high flyers with Skywards Gold fast track

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 441

Any word on the date they will receive their first A380?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2550

If you clicked the link in the first paragraph and read that story you'd see "late 2014", there is no update to that.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 542

Also heard of news that they're deploying brand new 777-200LR to Dallas Fort Worth in North America. Is there any news about the 777-200LRs?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 259

The 77L's are coming from AI, they'll also be used on their AUH-LAX route from 1 June 2014.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 732

Correction, AUH-LAX bird will be leased from 9W

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 259

The new AUH-SFO flights are to be operated by the 77W's leased from 9W.

LAX was meant to be operated by the ex-AI 77L's (as was GRU), but LAX is currently being operated by the A340-500's.

23 Aug 2011

Total posts 69

You have to wonder why Qantas has not introduced an A330-200 Per/Dxb to connect with its Dxb/Lhr flights- it would help strengthen theses services and also offer Perth pax an alternative to the Gulf and Asian carriers to the UK and Europe..

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 211

100% agree. If EK can run 3 flights, QR 1 daily and now EY 1 daily it doesn't make a whole lot of sense why they don't. They should launch the first available A332/3 with biz suite on this route to connect with QF flights to/from LHR... but I doubt they will. Maybe a 787-9... although this would seem even more doubtful

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

QF's new master has three flights, and Perth isn't Sydney so scrap that thought. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

Perh - Dubai - Berlin

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Dec 2011

Total posts 29

Qantas the Sydney Airline? Add new routes ex Perth to DXB? In competition with EK? Dreaming much?

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 211

A little over 4 years remaining with  EK alliance and I doubt AJ will be there to  resign for another 5. Who knows, the next CEO might exercise all 50 purchase rights for the 787-9 and  mend the CX relationship and dominate China/south east Asia.  Dreaming? Probably, but not impossible to think that just because EK currently dominate they always will. You could have said the same about QF  international 15 years ago..

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 181

They may have announced the route and loaded the flights into the GDS, but they havne't loaded or updated the ex-PER fares!

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 181

Correction, fares ex-PER show up but only to select destinations.

I purchased EY ex-PER flights on th July.


15 Dec 2013

Total posts 42

When will Etihad or Qatar make their way to Auckland!

I don't know about "high-quality" David, there are no lounges for VA FF's on EY ex-PER :P

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 443

First flight operated by an A346.

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1245

Love the A346.

So is anyone here booked on the inaugral?


17 Dec 2013

Total posts 47

Reading this the words Qantas, Perth, and vacuum come to mind

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 259

EY486 is en route to PER, operated by an A340-600!

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