Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will begin non-stop flights to Sydney, Australia on 26 March, 2007 from Abu Dhabi.
The new three times a week service will be flown by a three-class Airbus A340-500 aircraft.
Flight frequency will increase to a daily operation from 29 June.
Etihad Airways chief executive, James Hogan, said: “I am very optimistic that the new Sydney service will boost the development of commerce and tourism between Australia and the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi. “
The new Sydney service also carries significant benefits for Etihad Crystal Cargo.
Etihad’s cargo division started cargo services to Australia in July 2006, by offering interline services via Etihad’s network in the Far East.
“The non-stop Sydney service offers our Australian cargo customers a direct link to the Middle East, with swift connections through our hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport to 47 destinations world-wide”, said Rupert Batstone, Acting Executive Vice President Cargo, Etihad Airways.
The Airbus A340-500 can carry a cargo capacity of approximately 12 tonnes at a full passenger load.
Sydney will be Etihad Airways’ fifth destination in the Asia-Pacific region joining Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta.