Etihad Airways yesterday launched a daily non-stop service between Abu Dhabi and Phuket.
The route is the Gulf carrier's second Thailand destination, after the capital Bangkok.
Flight EY430 departs Abu Dhabi International Airport at 0840 and touches down at Phuket International Airport at 1800. Return service EY431 takes off from Phuket at 2025 and lands in Abu Dhabi at 0025 the following day.
The service is served by a two-class A330-200 with 22 seats in business class, and 240 seats in economy.
A traditional water cannon salute was on hand to welcome the inaugural flight, along with a gathering of dignitaries and airline representatives, plus a performance by traditional Thai dancers.
James Hogan, Etihad's president and chief executive, said: "The new Phuket route is a natural expansion of our Thai network and a strong addition to our portfolio of leisure destinations, such as the Seychelles, Maldives and Sri Lanka."