Effective 1 October, Etihad Airways will end its daily flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi.
Etihad is under pressure to turn around its fortunes after posting a loss of US$1.87 billion in 2017, and the cancellation of its Perth service is considered part of the airline’s major reorganisation.
Etihad has been flying to the Western Australian capital since July 2014, and upgraded its 262-seat A330 service to a 299-seat B787 Dreamliner service less than two years ago (June 2016), the West Australian reported.
According to the paper, Etihad CEO Peter Baumgartner last year warned that “we are in an industry characterised by overcapacity, declining market sizes on key routes, and changing customer behaviour as a weak global economy affects spending appetite”.
An Etihad spokesperson said, “along with our travel agency partners, we will work closely with impacted guests to notify them of the changes to their itineraries and re-accommodate them on alternative flights”.
The news comes as a blow to the WA Government, which wants more direct flights into Perth to help boost struggling international visitor numbers. For now, it will be hoping new nonstop Qantas flights between London and Perth will suffice.