Etihad Airways will increase its frequency to Sydney and Perth next year on the back of growing demand.
The Abu Dhabi carrier, which operates codeshare flights with Virgin Australia, will add three weekly flights to take the service to double-daily schedule from February 6.
It follows Virgin Australia’s move to shift its Australia to Abu Dhabi services to Perth from Sydney from June 9.
The Perth route will then have 10 weekly non-stop flights to Abu Dhabi.
Etihad has a 25.1 per cent equity stake in Virgin Australia Holdings, and a 10-year strategic partnership until 2020.
The Abu Dhabi carrier will add its EY code to Virgin Australia’s new three weekly flights from Perth to the UAE capital city.
The new Sydney capacity and codeshare with Virgin Australia’s Perth flights will increase Etihad’s presence in Australia to 45 weekly flights from 42.
Etihad’s three new Sydney services will operate with the same schedule as Virgin Australia’s current Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights, which have been operating since February 2011.
“Australia is a critical part of our network, and we will continue to add capacity to meet the growing two-way demand for business and leisure travel,” said Peter Baumgartner, the Etihad chief executive.
Last year, 56,460 Australian tourists checked into the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments, up 14 per cent from 2014, when 49,450 Australians visited, according to Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
Etihad also flies to Brisbane and Melbourne.
The additional Sydney flights will be served by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with eight seats in first class, 40 in business class, and 280 economy seats.