Etihad Is Ending Flights To Perth

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad Airways has announced this week that they’ll be discontinuing flights between Abu Dhabi and Perth as of October 1, 2018. The ~5,600 mile route currently operates daily using a Boeing 787-9, though as of April 14 will be operated by an A330-200 instead, so that already represents a significant capacity decrease. However, in a few months the route will be cut completely.

In general, Australia has been a huge point of growth for the Gulf carriers, and Etihad is bucking the trend here by ending a route. Etihad has been struggling financially and has made the tough decision of canceling some of their least profitable routes. In the US they’ve canceled flights to Dallas and San Francisco, for example.

Etihad ending flights to Perth is especially noteworthy for a few reasons:

So clearly Etihad has the unfortunate combination of being under increased financial pressure from their government while also operating a network that largely isn’t profitable. Of the “big three” Gulf carriers, I’d guess that Emirates might turn a “legitimate” profit, as they’ve scaled their network to the point that it works, while the government of Qatar is still willing to invest a lot of money in their airline.

I’ll be curious to see what routes Etihad cuts next, as I’m sure this is only the beginning. With Los Angeles flights having been reduced from daily to 4x weekly earlier this year, something tells me that the route may be next on the chopping block.

Are you surprised to see Etihad pull out of Perth?

  1. Is there such a demand for service to Perth anyway? It’s Australia’s 4th largest city, with a metro-area population of 2 million. That’s not tiny, but for example I can’t think of any Emirates (to use an ME airline known for expansion) flights to US cities with such a low population. Even the Orlando area has over 3.5 million.

  2. Sensible? Yes, if you are losing money, this is the right decision. Over capacity and huge competition of great airlines. But EY has a far more huge problem..the service is deteriorating..cost cuttings which sacrifices a better service in C is not as good anymore, even good wines could not compensate it. The crew atttitudes are getting bad to worst, gone the time when they are highly praised..

  3. Whilst it may only be the 4th largest city, it is the only city in Western Australia and therefore an important gateway city. There are huge traffic flows between the UK and Ireland and Western Australia. I’ve been on full Etihad flights from AUH-PER where I was the only AUH originating pax.

  4. More contrary proof for those who mistakenly claim that consumer preference is to brake up a long flight with a stop “to stretch one’s legs” in an intermediate airport.

  5. @mak

    it is your decision to fly directly or has nothing with the route demise hire…consumers can choose their airline and routings.. EY failed to sell this product as the competitors like EK, SQ, QF, CX are just better…

  6. I’m really doubting the future of Qantas’ new PER-LHR flight.
    I just cannot image there’s so much demand for a direct flight between Perth and London.

  7. JL – Qantas also sells connections over Perth to Melbourne and Sydney and all of Australia. In fact, the flight is technically a LHR – PER – MEL flight. they’re not just relying on people going between London and Perth

  8. @ JL – I agree with Jason – QF are relying on a lot of connections from elsewhere in Australia to connect to QF9. I would be surprised if more than 50% of pax are originating in PER. For that reason it’s no more a desirable flight than going via SYD on QF1.

  9. As much as I loved Etihad, their service cuts & standard drops are of their own making. People are not going to pay for a mediocre experience when you compare now to EK & QR. It says something when airlines like SQ fly 4 times a day & their flights are always full & EY cannot work 1 flight.

  10. If that 787 has the new business studios please send it to the ORD-AUH route! We’re flying it in Sept!

  11. It’s the beginning of the end for Etihad. They will be forced to merge with Emirates within 15 years from now.

  12. As a Pom in oz this is a big hit for VA who codeshare on these flights and market heavily connections to the east coast on this flight. Funny how qantas have just launched this model for connecting SYD MEL BNE whilst Etihad and virgin Australia have discontinued this strategy, especially as VA have just built a new terminal to facilitate this in PER

  13. Also now Singapore are flying their new 787-10 (from May 7) as well and Emirates is apparently going to go double daily A380 from Perth to Dubai. I live in Perth and while a disappoint we are seeing a lot of growth so I thought Etihad were going to drop out. I just booked a trip to Europe for near Christmas this year and booked on Qatar was considering Etihad glad I didn’t book them

  14. @Harrry Hv – VA never actually launched PER-AUH. They announced it and cancelled it before it started.

  15. @Jim – it isn’t a like for like comparison. The Australian market would likely use middle east airlines for different destinations than US based passengers. Markets have different demographics and travel needs. Plus Perth is home to a number of Australian mining companies.

  16. Ben, if the LAX-AUH route gets cut? What will they do with Etihad’s lounge in tbit? It’s quite a nice and modern lounge from my experience and I certainly can’t see them simply just getting rid of it. Would they use it for Etihad partner flights?

  17. People keep forgetting theres over 200,000 people (10% of Perths population) from the U.K
    Perth is also a busy FIFO hub for east coast workers and a busy gateway to Bali/Asia.
    Qatar having an A380 and the direct Qantas flight to LHR and Etihads poor finanical performance its easy to see why they would pull the flight.

  18. I hear EY is not doing cargo anymore.
    Heard 1 dept. that used to have a staff of 70 is now 4!
    They also closed their check in and very nice bus station in Dubai. It’s now just a bus stop.

  19. Etihad won’t be around for much longer. They have almost zero O&D to Abu Dhabi and thus rely almost solely on connecting passengers. A connecting hub lives off of well… connecting flights. Cutting Perth won’t help Etihad as those passengers will now be missing on flights to London, Paris, etc.
    They cut so many cities already from San Francisco over Edinburg to Perth.

  20. @Myles and PVM:
    EY is not what it was anymore.
    Though I used soon to expire miles for AUH -SYD IN F in A380, couple of weeks ago, and of course this is exceptional.
    Roughly 3 out of 4 fligbts from BRU to AUS and back were very good, one sucked….

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