Etihad will stop flying to Brisbane as continued international border closures and caps on how many passengers can fly into Australia make the route commercially unviable.
Etihad Airways is set to pull its Abu Dhabi to Brisbane route, despite the recent flight arrivals cap increase from 4000 to 5500 passengers per week.
This decision comes after Malaysia Airlines’ announcement last month to halt flights to Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide, for the same reason; passenger caps make the routes unsustainable.
In more bad news for the industry, following the announcement of the federal budget, treasurer Josh Frydenberg implied that international borders could remain closed until “late next year” when a vaccine is available.
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An Etihad spokesman told the Guardian Australia, “the decision to cancel the [Abu Dhabi to Brisbane] route is a commercial one and a direct consequence of the impact of COVID-19 on global travel and tourism demand”.
Etihad has told Karryon that the airline will work closely with impacted guests and travel agents to notify them of the changes to their itineraries and re-accommodate them on alternative flights.
Etihad will continue to fly to Sydney and Melbourne – when Melbourne International is back up and running after its strict lockdown restrictions lift.
Although this will likely create difficulty with Etihad passengers, the move will free up space for other airlines, such a Qatar, who continue to repatriate Australians that have been stranded overseas.
Etihad has also stated that the cancellation of the Brisbane route is one of several adjustments currently being made by the airline during this time. We will update you when we know more.
Etihad is grateful to its guests, partners, government and industry authorities, local businesses, and the travel trade, for their loyalty and partnership throughout the time we have served Brisbane.
If you’d like to speak with someone about these changes, you can contact Etihad here.
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