V Australia Inaugural Flight Arrives in Abu Dhabi

By Etihad Airways, PRNE
Thursday, February 24, 2011

ABU DHABI, UAE, February 25, 2011 - Australia-based Virgin Blue Group of Airlines has launched its inaugural
V Australia flight to Abu Dhabi, becoming the first Australian carrier to
operate to the Middle East in 20 years.

Arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport at 11.40pm GST on February
, the Sydney - Abu Dhabi service included Virgin Blue Group CEO and
Managing Director John Borghetti and Etihad Airways (
www.etihadairways.com/sites/etihad/global/en/home/pages/home.aspx) CEO
James Hogan, along with the Australian Ambassador to the United Arab
, Mr Doug Trappett, and Virgin Blue Group's new ambassador and one of
the world's most successful swimmers, Ian Thorpe, who has come to Abu Dhabi
to continue training for the 2012 Olympic trials.

The new V Australia (www.virginblue.com.au/AboutUs/VAustralia/)
Abu Dhabi service is a key part of the partnership between Virgin Blue Group
of Airlines and Etihad Airways which will see the airlines offer a total of
27 weekly services between Abu Dhabi and Australia, including double-daily
services between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, daily Melbourne-Abu Dhabi flights and
six frequencies per week between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane.

Virgin Blue Group (
CEO and Managing Director John Borghetti said that
Australians were very excited about the new V-Australia service and that the
UAE would also benefit significantly.

"Since its launch in 2009, the award-winning V Australia service has
provided a high-quality, competitive travel option for travellers on
trans-pacific routes and we're very pleased to bring our service to Abu
," Mr Borghetti said.

"Etihad Airways has been doing a great job of promoting Abu Dhabi as a
budding destination for Australian tourists and a stepping stone to Europe
and beyond. Having a home-grown Australian airline offer services to the
Middle East will build upon those efforts and help to increase the profile of
the UAE in Australia."

Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said: "V Australia is
the first Australian airline ever to serve the United Arab Emirates. That is
no small matter, and is certainly a reflection of the growing strength and
relevance of the Australia-UAE relationship.

"Equally, the increased capacity into Australia will help us in achieving
greater commercial scale, driving higher loads and yields on the African,
European and Middle Eastern side of our network.

"In partnering with Virgin Blue, Etihad is supporting the Government of
Abu Dhabi's vision for the emirate by generating stronger inbound business
and leisure traffic flows."

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (www.adac.ae/) (ADAC) Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) James E. Bennett stated: "ADAC is pleased to welcome V
Australia to its airlines' portfolio as the first new addition for 2011 at
Abu Dhabi International Airport. V Australia is recognised for its high
quality service, in line with the levels of service we promise our travellers
at Abu Dhabi International Airport."

The V Australia Abu Dhabi service (
will operate three times per week from Sydney from February 2011 and
three Brisbane - Abu Dhabi services per week by February 2012, using its new
fleet of three-class economically and environmentally efficient Boeing
777-300ERs. VA29 will fly from Sydney to Abu Dhabi on Tuesdays, Thursdays and
Saturdays, departing at 4.05pm and VA30 will fly from Abu Dhabi to Sydney on
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, departing at 10.45am.

Virgin Blue Group's partnership with Etihad Airways delivers a combined
global network of more than 150 destinations worldwide. This partnership is a
key part of Virgin Blue Group's plans to build an international network of
airline partners that can provide global coverage along with frequent flyer
earn and redemption capabilities to benefit guests.

(Due to the length of these URLs, it may be necessary to copy and paste
the hyperlinks into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)

About Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, based
in the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi. The airline flies to 66 destinations in the
Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

    PR Contact:
    Holly Williams
    Head of International Media Relations
    Etihad Airways
    P.O.Box 35566
    Head Office
    Khalifa City A
    Abu Dhabi
    United Arab Emirates


PR Contact: Holly Williams, Head of International Media Relations, Etihad Airways, P.O.Box 35566, Head Office, Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, +971-50-446-9151

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