Etihad to remain Virgin Australia partner despite Qatar alliance

The Gulf rivals will stand shoulder to shoulder on Virgin Australia’s roster of international partners.

By David Flynn, May 10 2022
Etihad to remain Virgin Australia partner despite Qatar alliance

Despite the new alliance between Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia, long-standing Virgin partner Etihad Airways says there will be no changes to its relationship with the Australian carrier.

“Etihad and Virgin Australia’s partnership remains strong and continues to provide value to Australian travellers, as well as Virgin Velocity and Etihad Guest members,” a spokesman for the Abu Dhabi-based airline tells Executive Traveller.

“There will be no changes for Etihad Guest or Velocity members, who will continue to enjoy aligned reciprocal tier benefits and lounge access globally.”

Australia ranks among of Etihad Guest’s top five markets for membership and “member engagement”, buoyed by a partnership with Virgin Australia stretching back to 2010.

Indeed, under former CEO James Hogan, Etihad was a major investor in Virgin, holding a 21% stake which was wiped out when Virgin entered administration in 2020 and subsequently bought by Bain Capital.

Etihad recently marked 15 years of flights to Australia, and currently runs daily services to Sydney and Melbourne, although it has bailed on Brisbane – a move which is believed to have let Qatar add the Queensland capital to its network.

In June, Etihad’s Sydney flights will be upgraded to a Boeing 777, putting more seats in the sky as demand continues to grow.

The airline has also added the Airbus A350 to its fleet, boasting an all-new business class with sliding privacy doors, while an evolution of these Business Studio suites is slated for the next wave of Boeing 787-9s due for delivery from 2023.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 940

First World Problem, do I fly Singapore Airlines, Etihad or Qatar to Europe from Australia? The other option is Qantas and they also have a stop over in Darwin or Perth and which lounge would be better to spend time in. I don't think the Perth and Darwin lounges match the Etihad First lounge, Qatar First lounge or even the new Silver Kris lounge in Singapore. 

This is why I have said Qantas needs to bring forward their direct flights from the East Coast, the stop overs in Perth and Darwin which are roughly the same time just don't match the options of Singapore, Etihad and Qatar.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 251

Yeh the lounges aren't up to scratch but no one flies to use a lounge. One thing I realised having flown SQ and QR recently from Perth to Europe is that the timings are bloody awful - 2am departures ex Doha, midnight or early morning ex Singapore. Regardless of being in business - it was exhausting.

So for me I'd say stuff the stopover. I'd rather leave in the evening even if QF is sub par (this says a lot as I'm not a loyal QF flyer) and take direct flight get a solid sleep in lieu of having to stay up till service is finished, being woken up for breakfast etc. Also one thing I realised is how out of routine I put my body through - I'm very conscious of eating and drinking well and seeing the amount of food and alcohol people consume when they normally wouldn't be eating and drinking at late evening/ early morning is not good. Each to their own though.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 335

Yes but Qatar have an excellent Al Safwa First Lounge  with day rooms to sleep in  Used to do this to Tel Aviv - ADL-PER-DOH-AMM-TLV before COVID.  Singapore Air have NO dayrooms, a questionable Private Room compared to palatial yet spartan and class Al Safwa First.  Being on SQ First and being thrown out of the Private Room Area into the regular First and forced to sleep on chairs pieced together as a bed fit for a 5ft7 not 6ft3  (a bit like flying via HKG unless you are in Cathay First and can have a slumber cubicle for a few hours in Pier First )  

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