Etihad Airways today launched daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Today’s inaugural flight – EY441 – was the first commercial passenger service between Abu Dhabi and Vietnam’s commercial capital. The Abu Dhabi flight departs 0830 and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City 1900 and the return flight departs 2030 and arrives in Abu Dhabi 0045 the next day.
President and CEO James Hogan said the new service, operated on A330-200s with 262 seats on board, would meet “strong demand” for business and leisure travel and cargo services between Vietnam and the UAE, the Middle East and Europe. Codeshare partner, Vietnam Airlines, will place its VN code on the Abu Dhabi-Ho Chi Minh City sector.
“Vietnam is not only the 13th most populous nation, it is also one of the world’s fastest growing economies,” he 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.”
In 2012, exports from Vietnam to the UAE exceeded $2 billion for the first time – up 82 per cent on 2011 – and is forecast to exceed $4 billion in 2013. The Airbus aircraft has 13.1 tonne bellyhold capacity.
The new services will also support the UAE government’s investment in infrastructure, energy, construction and tourism projects in Vietnam, currently value at more than $3 billion.