KARACHI: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will expand its network in South East Asia with the launch of a non-stop daily service between Abu Dhabi and Phuket.
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and has emerged as one of the world’s most popular destinations for both holidays and retirement. Located in the Andaman Sea, tourists flock to the island for its pristine natural beaches and year-round sunshine.
The new route will launch on 26 October 2014 using two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, with 22 Pearl Business seats and 240 Coral Economy seats. The flights have been scheduled to provide optimal connectivity between Phuket and key markets across Europe and the GCC.
Phuket will become the second destination in Thailand to be served by Etihad Airways, and the seventh in South East Asia, alongside Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “We have a very successful track record in Thailand. The capital city, Bangkok, has ranked as our most popular route for the past four years, with 742,759 passengers flown in 2013 alone. Expanding our reach in the country with a daily service to Phuket is therefore natural progression.
“The island is a strong addition to Etihad Airways’ leisure portfolio and we will offer attractive arrival and departure times, with seamless connections to 25 European and GCC cities. This includes daily connections from London, Manchester, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Paris, in addition to key GCC markets such as Bahrain, Doha, Muscat, Kuwait and Riyadh.”
Phuket is the ninth route to be announced by Etihad Airways in 2014. Services commenced to Medina on 1 February, and will be followed by Jaipur (1 April), Los Angeles (1 June), Zurich (1 June), Yerevan (2 July), Rome (15 July), Perth (15 July), Phuket (26 October) and Dallas (3 December).
Flights to Phuket can be booked from today on www.etihad.com, through Etihad Airways Contact Centres, or via travel agents.
Etihad Airways offers 37 weekly flights to Abu Dhabi from Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar. Travellers from Pakistan will have direct flights to Phuket via Abu Dhabi, the airline’s home-base.