The Virgin Blue Group on Thursday launched its inaugural V Australia flight to Abu Dhabi, becoming the first Australian airline to operate to the Middle East in more than 20 years. Qantas has used the Middle East only as a refueling stop prior to the introduction of the Boeing 747-400 and no Australian airlines have ever used that region as a hub to Europe and Africa. The new service is a key plank in the group’s alliance with Etihad Airways; together the carriers will move ...

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