etihadA340-5002Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has increased the destinations available for passengers travelling to Australia by expanding its codeshare agreement with Qantas.

As part of the agreement, the Etihad two-letter ‘EY’ code is now placed on flights from Sydney to Ayers Rock (Uluru), Alice Springs, Canberra, Hobart and Melbourne and flights from Brisbane to Cairns.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “The expansion of this codeshare agreement with Qantas reaffirms our commitment to passengers around the world who are flying to Australia and want to visit towns and cities outside the key gateways.”

The new routes are in addition to the services that were part of the initial codeshare agreement, which commenced in March 2009 and include flights between Sydney and Brisbane, Sydney and Cairns, Sydney and Adelaide, and Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as Sydney to Auckland in New Zealand.

Aside from the codeshare expansion, Etihad recently secured 14 additional weekly flight frequencies from its Abu Dhabi home-base to Australia.

Within the new flight allocation, which is available from March 2011, seven flights can be operated to any gateway in Australia. This includes Etihad’s current destinations of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

A further seven weekly flights were granted on the condition that the operation also flies via or onto a regional airport.