PHUKET: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has commenced daily non-stop flights between Abu Dhabi and Phuket, the airline’s second destination in Thailand.
The inaugural flight – EY430 – departed Abu Dhabi International Airport at 8:40am local time on Sunday, October 26, and touched down at 6:00pm the same day at Phuket International Airport, where it was welcomed by dignitaries and airline representatives.
“The new Phuket route is a natural expansion of our Thai network and a strong addition to our portfolio of leisure destinations, which includes the Seychelles, Maldives and Sri Lanka,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways James Hogan.
“With attractive departure and arrival times and seamless connections in more than 25 cities across the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and Europe, the new services will contribute greatly to the growth of tourism to the region.
“Holidaymakers from the UAE and GCC, as well as from key European markets including London, Milan, Munich and Paris, will now have enhanced travel options to the island destination and enjoy Etihad Airways’ award-winning service along the way.”
The route is serviced by a two-class Airbus A330-200 with 22 seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy Class.
Connections to Phuket from Berlin, Düsseldorf, Rome and Belgrade, are also available with Etihad Airways’ European partners, Air Berlin, Alitalia and Air Serbia.
Phuket is one of 10 new routes launched, or to be launched, by Etihad Airways in 2014. Others include Medina, Jaipur, Los Angeles, Zurich, Yerevan, Rome and Perth. Phuket is also the airline’s seventh destination in Southeast Asia alongside Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore.
Etihad Airways’ non-stop service was launched on the same day as Qatar Airways’ non-stop flights from Doha to Phuket (story here).