x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Etihad's Australian alliance with Virgin approved

Etihad Airways has been officially cleared to start its code share alliance with Virgin Blue of Australia.

Australian authorities have formally approved Etihad Airways' alliance plans with the Virgin Blue Group of Australia, removing the final obstacle for the two airlines to commence their code share partnership later this month.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) decision will lead to Virgin Blue subsidiary V Australia launching direct, non-stop flights to Abu Dhabi beginning February 24, and use the UAE capital as an "international hub," said the Australian airline's chief executive and managing director, John Borghetti.

It will also allow Etihad to sell tickets on the V Australia service to Abu Dhabi, as well as dozens of Virgin Blue flights within Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

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The cooperation between Etihad and Virgin Blue is being waged to capture a larger share of the leisure and corporate traffic between Australasia and Europe, and compete on a stronger footing against established airlines like Qantas and Emirates.

"This will allow us to offer corporate and leisure travellers a very attractive one-stop servicetomore than 14 destinations in Europe, as well as the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Africa",Mr Borghetti said.

igale@thenational.ae