Australian Minister arrives on inaugural Qantas flight to Dubai

WAM Dubai, April 1st, 2013 (WAM) — Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese, accompanied by the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport Mike Mrdak, arrived today in Dubai on the first Qantas flights between Australia and the UAE, which inaugurates a five-year alliance between Emirates and Qantas airlines.

The alliance includes operating daily Qantas flights from Sidney and Melbourne to Dubai, provides Qantas and Emirates customers with increased access to a number of existing frequencies and destinations under a single airline code and improves connectivity and scheduling. It also includes switching Qnatas Singapore hub to Dubai.

In the last six months flights between the UAE and Australia have increased by over a third, from 94 to 126 . Etihad Airways operates 25 weekly services between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, whereas Emirates Airlines operates 84 weekly services between Dubai and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane Perth and Adelaide.

On the other hand, Virgin Australia operates 3 weekly services between Sydney and Abu Dhabi, while Qantas will operate 7 weekly services from both Sydney and Melbourne to Dubai and London starting from 31 March 2013.

In 2012, around 195,000 passengers flew between the UAE and Australia. Strong aviation links between the two countries can be expected to bring other economic benefits, as the UAE now ranks amongst Australia’s top 15 trading partners.

Pablo Kang, the Austrian Ambassador to the UAE, said: “Australia welcomes the contribution to the Australian market by the UAE carriers, Etihad and Emirates airlines, bringing economic benefits and providing competition in Australia’s international aviation market.” “Australia also welcomes the deepening links and relationship with the UAE through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for Co-operation on Civil Aviation Security. We believe that good international cooperation is essential to efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport links between countries,” he added noting that his country is “committed to constructive dialogue with its international partners on civil aviation security, particularly on new screening technology and enhanced air cargo security.” WAM/HD WAM/ES