Etihad Airways has introduced an A380, equipped with its The residence private suites, on its Melbourne-Abu Dhabi and Melbourne-London routes.
The Residence is the world’s first three-room private suite on a commercial aircraft.
Etihad Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing, Shane O’Hare, said: “Today marks another major milestone for Etihad Airways in Australia.
“With Melbourne joining our A380 network, Australia is the only country in our global network with daily A380 services to two cities – Melbourne and Sydney.
“Deploying our latest technology aircraft and class-leading product and service to Australia recognises its importance to our business and the strong demand from Australian travellers for premium travel experiences.
The A380 will increase the total number of two-way seats on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi route by 26 per cent to more than 11,500 seats per week.
O’Hare said this would ease the capacity constraints on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi, particularly for business and premium leisure travel.
“Our Abu Dhabi to Melbourne services generate very high seat load factors year-round,” he said.
“The A380, with 70 seats in business class, enables us to better meet the demand we have for our premium cabins and will boost our market share of this important segment.
“The Melbourne to Abu Dhabi route is an important connector for Victorians to Europe with this market already experiencing considerable growth since Etihad’s second daily service commenced last August.”
Etihad Airways’ A380 carries 496 passengers in a four-class configuration: The Residence, First Apartments, Business Studios and Economy Smart Seats.