Middle Eastern airlines are expanding their long haul services in a bid to play an increasing role in linking up destinations in the East and the West.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said it will increase flights between its hub in Abu Dhabi and Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, from three times a week to daily starting February 1 next year.
Flight EY470 will leave Abu Dhabi at 1025, arriving in Singapore at 2210, before departing for Brisbane at 2240 and landing the next day at 0940. The return leg will depart Brisbane at 1155, touching down in Singapore at 1810, then departing for Abu Dhabi at 1945 and landing at 2330.
The flights in both directions will deploy an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 22 business and 240 economy class seats on board.
The increased services will mean that, with its partner airline Virgin Atlantic, Etihad now operates 28 flights between Australia and Abu Dhabi each week.
According to the Queensland government, large-scale infrastructure projects being carried out in the Middle East are providing extensive business opportunities for Queensland exporters in areas such as construction and infrastructure services. Last year, Queensland’s annual export of merchandise to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates totalled US$13 million and US$138 million.
Singapore also has growing business with Middle Eastern countries and in 2010 signed a free-trade agreement with the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council which include both the UAE and Qatar.
Looking at another Middle Eastern hub, Qatar Airways has recently announced it will launch daily flights between Doha and Chicago from April next year. The new route will expand the range of US flights provided by the airline, which already operates daily operations to New York and Houston.
Flight QR991will depart Doha at 0915 and arrive Chicago at 1550, while for the return leg flight QR992 will leave from Chicago at 2130 and land in Doha at 1900 the next day.
“Chicago is a key route for business and leisure travellers alike,” a spokesperson for the airline said. “Connecting them from destinations across India, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific with a one-stop service via Doha to the Midwest.”
Emirates will add a seventh US destination from September 12, starting a service between Dubai and Washington DC (see story here). The airline also has plans to start routes to Adelaide on November 1, Lyon on December 5, and Warsaw on February 6 (see story here)