Etihad Airways has announced it will launch daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) on October 1, 2013.
The Vietnamese city will become the carrier’s sixth direct destination in the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), joining Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore. The new route will be served by an A330-200 aircraft with 22 Pearl Business Class seats and 240 Coral Economy Class seats.
According to Stephen Mahoney, senior manager of communications for Etihad in Australia and Asia, target passengers of the new route will be a mix of business and leisure travellers. “The destination was chosen since the UAE [United Arab Emirates] and Vietnam’s economic relationship is really energising, and the industry sectors located there provide a number of commercial opportunities for businesses from around the world,” he said.
There have been joint UAE and Vietnam government ventures in areas of energy, infrastructure, tourism, and civil construction. UAE investment in Vietnam currently stands at more than US $3 billion and two-way trade revenue at about US $1.3 billion, according to the airline’s press release.
Mr Mahoney added that it would also enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a connecting hub between Europe and Asia. Including existing codeshare deals (see story here) and partner airlines, Etihad will reach a total of 21 destinations in Asean when the route launches.
Etihad’s codeshare with Vietnam Airlines (see story here), for example, already provides daily connections through Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. It was from analysis of the traffic on this route that strong inbound and outbound market demand for HCMC was identified, which bolstered the decision to add a direct service, Mr Mahoney said.
This year, Etihad Airways has announced the launch of non-stop flights to Sao Paulo, Washington DC, Addis Ababa and Ahmedabad.
These cities are part of the airline’s 10-year network growth plan to fly to 100 destinations with more than 150 aircraft by 2020.
For more information visit www.etihadairways.com.