Etihad is doubling the frequency of its Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Melbourne (MEL) services from August 2015.
While the new daily service (EY462/EY463) don’t seem to have award space loaded yet, Etihad’s existing MEL service (EY460/461) has excellent award availability in all classes. Both services are scheduled to be operated by Boeing 777-300ER (77W) aircraft.
Etihad is a partner of Virgin Australia, and members should remember that they can use Velocity points to book award seats in first class, as well as in business and economy.
Etihad also preparing to bring the A380 to Australia
Etihad already fly double daily AUH to Sydney (SYD) and the additional MEL services come as Etihad prepares to launch previously announced daily Airbus A380 services into SYD from 1 June 2015, which will replace an existing service operated with Airbus A340-600 aircraft (346).
Media have previously reported that Etihad also intend to begin A380 services into MEL in 2016.
What will Emirates do to respond?
Etihad’s close UAE competitor Emirates only offer one non-stop daily MEL to Dubai (DXB) service, which is operated by the Airbus A380. Emirates other MEL services go via Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Singapore (SIN), and are both operated by 77W aircraft.