Etihad Airways will upgrade its daily service between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi this week with a big Boeing 777-300ER – the airline's current flagship – flying the daily route from Sunday December 1st.
With 328 seats in a three-class configuration, the swap will add an extra 36 seats compared to the current Airbus A340-600.
And while that might not seem like much, it gives Etihad a shot of extra capacity on this growing route, says Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan.
“Etihad Airways’ Melbourne–Abu Dhabi flights are some of the strongest performers in our network – this year load factors between the two cities have averaged more than 80 per cent" Hogan relates.
“Switching to the Boeing 777 gives us 12 per cent more seats overall and 25 per cent more in business class. This will enable us to increase our share of the corporate and leisure travel market between Australia and Abu Dhabi and beyond to our worldwide network.”
Etihad has 10 Airbus A380s on order with first deliveries due in late 2014, with each carrying a standard three-class layout of first, business and economy. London and New York will also join Sydney and Melbourne on the airline's superjumbo network.
Etihad will also open 'premium lounges' for its first and business class passengers at Sydney and Melbourne airports next year, with travellers from partner airline Virgin Australia also enjoying access when travelling on codeshared Etihad flights.
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