Etihad brings back daily Sydney, Melbourne flights

March sees the return of daily flights from the Gulf carrier and Virgin Australia partner.

By Matt Lennon, February 14 2022
Etihad brings back daily Sydney, Melbourne flights

Sydney and Melbourne will once again see daily departures from Etihad Airways beginning Sunday 27 March as confidence grows in the rebound of international travel and the return of tourists and business travellers from around the world.

However, the Virgin Australia partner will adopt a split schedule which sees the flight number and departure time varying depending on the day of the week.

If you're heading out from Sydney, Etihad flight EY451 pushes back from the gate at 3:55pm on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; but on the other four days, it’s EY455 setting off at 8:55pm.

Ditto for Melbourne: EY461 leaves Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 10pm, while EY463 takes off on the other days at 4:15pm.

“Etihad’s combined double-daily flights to eastern Australia will boost vital trade and tourism ties while providing guests with convenient travel options to Abu Dhabi and beyond to the rest of Etihad’s network” says Sarah Built, the airline's Vice President Sales for Australia and New Zealand.

Sydney and Melbourne will both see Etihad’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in a two-class configuration of business – featuring flatbed Business Studio suites – and economy.

Settle in for the ride with Etihad's Business Studio suites.
Settle in for the ride with Etihad's Business Studio suites.

Sydney and Melbourne used to be served by Etihad’s Airbus A380 in pre-pandemic days, and while the airline announced plans to retire the superlative superjumbos – which were crowned by the extravagant three-room Residence suite and nine spacious first class Apartments, along with a cosy Lobby lounge social area – Etihad’s CEO Tony Douglas has refused to write them off.

“I'd never say never but they're not in the plan at the moment,” Douglas remarked earlier this year.

“If the economics of it work, they're back in,” he stated, reflecting that “the traveling public, our guests, loves them.”

Etihad’s newest long-range jet is the Airbus A350, which is tipped to take wing by the middle of this year and will carry cocoon-like business class suites with sliding doors.

Earlier this year Etihad launched its WorldPass program, which allows frequent travellers based in Abu Dhabi to pre-purchase flight vouchers in economy and business class.

Destinations available on the WorldPass currently do not include Australia but open a door to much more flexible access to other GCC nations, the UK and Ireland, the Indian subcontinent and a range of cities in Africa.

However, Australians can take advantage of the ability to redeem their Virgin Velocity frequent flyer points on Etihad flights.

30 May 2014

Total posts 7

Those split timings will be to maximise the two key connection banks at Abu Dhabi, opening up the most connection opportunities with a single daily flight. We have seen this in the past with Thai where a double daily schedule cannot/is not offered.

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 175

I just hope Etihad raises it's game a little with it's business class catering.  I flew BKK - AUH - AMS with them last month and the catering in J was really poor.

They are one of those cheeky airlines still offering a significantly watered down service under the guise of 'COVID'.

There is no choice of starter (tbh there is no starter at all really, it is a tiny little side dish) or dessert.  You only choose between the three main course choices and everything is served at once on a tray.  

It is such a decline from what they used to offer catering wise.

As a comparison I flew JAL on the outbound and the catering was AMAZING.  Full pre pandemic style, minus hot towels and plus coverings on all food.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 412

I am more keen to see what the schedules are like on the way home from Europe.for instance can one get into Melbourne from Athens via Abu Dhabi to make the last Virgin Australia onto Adelaide and on the way over same process but into Rome.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 64

I wonder if their lounges are going to be operational in Aus and also Abu Dhabi? ... Last I heard, the first class lounge in AUH only opens for a small period in the mornings, and I have no idea about about Syd/Mel.


03 May 2013

Total posts 664

Now bring back the soft product in J because the current state of affairs is woeful compared to what it was.

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