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Etihad Airways Launches Ho Chi Minh Flights

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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.

Etihad 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 and GCC.”

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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