Measles Warning Issued To Passengers On Etihad Boeing 777 To Melbourne

Australian and New Zealand health officials have warned travelers on a recent Etihad airways flight that they may have been exposed to measles. A traveler now based in Australia has a case of the infectious virus.

EY462 departed from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) on January 27. It was scheduled for departure at 09:30, eventually being wheels up at 10:35. The almost 13-hour flight touched down in the Victorian capital at Melbourne Tullamarine International Airport (MEL) on January 28 at 06:06.

The 11-year-old aircraft in question was one of the airline’s eight Boeing 777-300ER, registration A6-ETH, which joined the fleet in August 2011.


Photo: Lukas Wunderlich | Shutterstock.

36 exposed so far

As noted by Radio New Zealand, Australian Health Authorities have released a warning alert and contacted 36 passengers who are thought to be at the most risk of catching the virus.

With the flight being fed by multiple travelers from New Zealand, The Ministry of Health (Manatū Hauora) and Health New Zealand (Te Whatu Ora) have also expressed concern. However, no cases of the virus are yet to be reported in New Zealand from the primary case. Symptoms of the virus can appear between seven and 18 days after exposure.


Low risk

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has noted that at this stage, the risk of an outbreak and public health risk is low. The Ministry has released this statement: “This is a timely reminder that New Zealand remains at risk of measles being imported into New Zealand following international travel.”

Verified by the World Health Organisation, New Zealand is one of 81 verified countries to have eliminated measles.

Etihad’s presence in Australia and New Zealand

Out of the big Middle-Eastern three (Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad), Etihad has the smallest presence down under, operating a daily flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to both Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD) and Melbourne Tullamarine International Airport (MEL). Both flights are operated by the carriers Boeing 777-300ER.

Historically the carrier also offered direct flights to Queensland, Brisbane International Airport (BNE), and Western Australia, Perth International Airport (PER). Unfortunately, these are no longer in operation.

New Zealand is currently absent from Etihad’s presence. However, it maintains codeshare agreements with Air New Zealand trans-Tasman. Etihad’s partnership with Virgin Australia also saw its flight numbers on various domestic and trans-Tasman flights throughout its network.

Sydney Airport runways at Botany Bay

Photo: Xavier MARCHANT | Shutterstock

16 years down under

Etihad first launched flights to Australia in 2007, with a direct service to Sydney on March 27. Melbourne joined the route map in 2009 before Perth was added in 2014.

As reported by Airline Ratings, Etihad operated 42 weekly operations to Australia at the airline’s peak. However, this has been severely scaled back since the pandemic. The carrier offers a convenient schedule with its flights connecting to its EMEA network.

Sources: Radio New Zealand, Airline Ratings

  • Etihad Boeing 787-9

    Etihad Airways

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Abu Dhabi International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Tony Douglas

    United Arab Emirates

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