Etihad Airways has launched daily flights to Ho
Chi Minh, Vietnam, the first ever commercial passenger services
between Abu Dhabi and Vietnam’s commercial capital.
Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said
the new Ho Chi Minh flights would meet strong demand for business
and leisure travel and cargo services between Vietnam and the UAE,
the Middle East and Europe.
“Vietnam is not only the 13th most populous
nation, it is also one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Its commercial capital, Ho Chi Minh City, is a gateway for
millions of Vietnamese international travellers and a busy trading
hub,” Mr Hogan said. “Our daily services will inject approximately
3,700 new seats a week into the route. This will intensify
competition among airlines for business, leisure and VFR travel
from Vietnam to Europe and help boost visitor traffic to the UAE
Mr Hogan also highlighted the revenue
potential of the new services to Vietnam for the airline’s highly
successful freight division, Etihad Cargo.
“The United Arab Emirates is Vietnam’s seventh
largest trading partner and its largest in the Gulf region,” he
said. “In 2012,
exports from Vietnam to the UAE exceeded US$2 billion for the
first time – up 82% on 2011 – and forecast to exceed US$4
billion in 2013. The 13.1 tonne bellyhold capacity
of our Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which equates to more than 9,500 tonnes per year, gives us sufficient capacity to boost the volume
and value of trade between the UAE and Vietnam and to other
markets in the GCC, Europe and North America.”
The new services are expected to support the
UAE government’s investment in infrastructure, energy,
construction and tourism projects in Vietnam – with a current
value of more than US$3 billion – and encourage further such
ventures in the future.
The Abu Dhabi-Ho Chi Minh
flights are operated by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 22
seats in Pearl Business Class and 240 in Coral Economy Class.
With the launch of Etihad Airways’ Vietnam flights,
its codeshare partner, Vietnam Airlines, will place its VN code on
the Abu Dhabi-Ho Chi Minh sector. This extends the scope of
the airlines’ current codeshare agreement. Etihad Airways already
has its EY code on Vietnam Airlines’ flights from Bangkok and
Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Vietnam Airlines has its VN
code on Etihad Airways’ flights from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to
Abu Dhabi and luxury coach services from Abu Dhabi International
Airport to Dubai.
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