Etihad to restart Melbourne-London route on May 15

Etihad Airways will offer flights from Melbourne to London, with transit via Abu Dhabi, from May 15.

It will restart the return leg, London to Melbourne, from May 21.

The airline plans to maintain this link until it fully resumes its previous double daily connection between the two cities.

Etihad said it had implemented an "an extensive sanitisation and safety programme" on flights and at airports, and recommended face masks for travellers.

"On board, we'll make sure you are seated with as much space as possible between every guest, and we'll offer our food and drinks service in line with important COVID-19 guidelines," a statement on Etihad's website said.

Passengers will remain on board at Abu Dhabi.

The airline said in a statement that the resumption of flights would "allow those needing to return home to Australia, or those requiring essential travel to the United Kingdom, the opportunity to do so with ease via the UAE capital".

Additional safety and security measures will be in place at the destination and passengers will be required to self-quarantine, the airline said.

Etihad suspended all flights in late March, but last month announced it would begin resuming flights over the next two months with a reduced network of scheduled services "with the aim of gradually returning to a fuller schedule as and when the global situation improves".

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The airline is advising passengers to check entry requirements for both countries before booking. The Australian border remains closed with the exception of Australian citizens and permanent residents, immediate family, or New Zealand citizens normally resident in Australia.

Anyone entering Australia is still required to go into a mandatory quarantine for two weeks at a hotel.

The UK announced on Sunday that all visitors would now be required to self-isolate for two weeks and to fill out a form declaring where they would stay during their visit. Breaches could result in fines of £1000 ($A1901)

The suspension of Etihad and Emirates flights in March left Qatar Airways as the only carrier from the region continuing to fly to Australia. Qatar actually increased flights to Australia during this period and added a new route, Doha to Brisbane, citing demand from Australian citizens seeking to return home. The airline plans to have about half its network operating again by the end of June, as travel restrictions ease around the globe.

Emirates resumed some flights in early April but is yet to return to Australia.

with Reuters

See also: Singapore Airlines sends A380 superjumbos to Australian desert

See also: 'Very risky': Overseas holidays unlikely before 2021, say experts

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