TOURISM — ETIHAD
AIRWAYS — PERTH–ABU DHABI — DAILY FLIGHTS
252. Hon COLIN TINCKNELL to the minister representing the
Minister for Tourism:
government recently announced direct flights from Perth to London, highlighting
the importance of building Perth's profile as an entry point into
Australia. Disappointingly, it was reported this morning in The West Australian
that Etihad Airways will cease its daily service to Perth, effective 1 October.
(1) Has the
government spoken to Etihad Airways or taken any steps to try to prevent this
daily service from concluding?
(2) If yes to
(1), what steps or action have been taken?
(3) If not, does
the government have any such intentions to do so in an effort to preserve this
important travel route to the Middle East?
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN
I thank the member for some notice of the question. The
following information has been provided to me by the Minister for Tourism.
Naturally we are disappointed with this decision by Etihad Airways to withdraw
its daily service between Perth and Abu Dhabi, which I am advised had not been
anticipated nor mentioned in recent discussions Tourism Western Australia has
had with the airline. No approach had been made to the government for
additional marketing support on the route. Once verbally advised on 9 April
2018, both Tourism Australia and Tourism Western Australia asked Etihad whether
there was anything that could be done to change its decision, such as further
marketing support. The airline indicated it would not change the decision,
which was made for commercial reasons as part of its global network review. It
is not just Perth being affected but destinations around the world—to
date, Etihad has announced Ho Chi Minh City, Edinburgh and Perth as affected
Reductions in aviation capacity
are never good. However, it is important to remember that Etihad is one of
three airlines servicing Western Australia through the Middle East. Qatar also
services Perth, and will upgrade its aircraft to A380s next month. This
represents an increase of more than 1 000 seats a week. Perth is still well
connected via the Middle East to the United Kingdom and European markets, with
multiple airlines operating flights over their connecting hubs, including
Middle East carriers Emirates and Qatar, as well as Qantas' new direct
flights from the UK and numerous other carriers via Asian hubs, such as
Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and China