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The UK is gaining extra capacity to Asia and Australia with the start of daily flights today by Etihad Airways between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane via Singapore.

The increased frequency adds an extra 1,048 seats a week to the Abu Dhabi-Singapore-Brisbane route.

A new marketing agreement with Tourism and Events Queensland has been signed to encourage more visitors from the Middle East, UK and Europe to holiday in the state.

The carrier is also offering onward connections with Virgin Australia from Brisbane.

Etihad Airways started with three flights a week on the route in September, 2007. The Queensland capital was the airline’s second destination in Australia.

President and chief executive James Hogan said: “The additional capacity puts Etihad Airways in a stronger than ever position in the Singapore and Australian markets. It enables us to compete on a more level playing field than in the past.

“The new schedule also offers more to the thousands of business and leisure travellers, particularly from the Middle East, UK, Ireland and Europe, who are heading to Singapore and the state of Queensland in ever-increasing numbers.”

Etihad Airways will operate ‘Blue Moon Rising’ – its 262-seat Airbus A330-200 painted in Manchester City livery – on the commemorative