Etihad waives flight change fees for Australians affected by bushfire crisis

The airline is removing fees on flights to and from Australia

LAKE TABOURIE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 04: Residents look on as flames burn through bush on January 04, 2020 in Lake Tabourie, Australia. A state of emergency has been declared across NSW with dangerous fire conditions forecast for Saturday, as more than 140 bushfires continue to burn. There have been eight confirmed deaths in NSW since Monday 30 December. 1365 homes have been lost, while 3.6 million hectares have been burnt this fire season. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
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Etihad Airways has announced that it will waive all flight change fees for Australian residents affected by the devastating bushfires currently sweeping through the country.

“Australia is a key and highly valued market in the global network of Etihad Airways,” the airline, which operates daily flights to the Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, said in a statement.

“As part of its international workforce, Etihad is also the proud employer of more than 300 Australian nationals outside Australia, who, with their families, number more than 1,000. Most reside in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, where the airline is based.” The statement also noted that about 16,000 Australian nationals live and work in the UAE.

The airline will waive all fees for changes on flights to and from Australia. Travellers affected by the ongoing crisis are invited to contact Etihad Guest Services in the UAE on 600 555 666 or in Australia on 0061 130 053 2215.

In addition, Etihad has pledged to work with Emirates Red Crescent to raise funds within the UAE to help support bushfire relief.

Around half a billion animals and at least 24 people have died as a result of the bushfires, which are so hot they have created their own weather systems, including dry lightning storms and fire tornadoes.

The spread of the fires is being fueled by strong winds and record temperatures.