Vietnam to join Etihad Airways global flight network General July 21, 2012July 28, 20120 ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways will launch daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s commercial capital and most populous city, in October 2013. It will be Etihad Airways’ sixth online destination within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, joining Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Singapore. In conjunction with its partner airlines, the new Ho Chi Minh City service extends Etihad Airways’ total flight network reach to 21 ASEAN destinations. The new air services to Ho Chi Minh City are set to meet growing demand from Vietnam’s rapidly expanding economy and will support the country’s increasing commercial ties with the United Arab Emirates, and in particular Abu Dhabi. James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to announce the introduction of Ho Chi Minh City to the Etihad Airways’ global flight network. Like our home-base of Abu Dhabi, it is a vibrant, culturally rich and expanding city popular with business and leisure travelers. “The route will be ideal to carry passengers and cargo point to point from the United Arab Emirates, as well as from Etihad Airways destinations across the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America.” The new flight services will further support joint UAE and Vietnam government ventures in areas of energy, infrastructure, tourism, and civil construction. UAE investment in Vietnam now stands at more than US $3 billion and two-way trade revenue approximately US $1.3 billion. Hogan added: “Etihad Airways has a strong South East Asian network and the addition of daily services to Ho Chi Minh City underlines our commitment to this region that continues to experience strong commercial growth across many industries, especially tourism, manufacturing and technology.” HE Tran Ngoc Thach, Ambassador of Vietnam to the UAE, said “I believe that Etihad’s direct flights to Vietnam will contribute to improving understanding between the two peoples of Viet Nam and the UAE. More and more tourists will come to Viet Nam and a greater number of tourists will come to the UAE. They will also help to increase trade and tourism between our two countries for the benefit of the people and countries.” Flights between Abu Dhabi and Ho Chi Minh City will begin on 1 October 2013 and will be served by a two class A330-200 aircraft. The aircraft will have 22 Pearl Business Class seats and 240 Coral Economy Class seats – a total 3,668 seats per week. Hogan added: “Etihad Airways would like to express its appreciation to the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Abu Dhabi Government, as well as the Vietnam Government and its Civil Aviation Authority, for their support securing the landmark new services between Abu Dhabi and Ho Chi Minh City. “Additionally we would like to thank our partner, Vietnam Airlines, our code share partner since October 2011. The introduction of direct services to Ho Chi Minh City will further strengthen our cooperation.” Etihad Airways code share with Vietnam Airlines already provides Etihad Airways passengers with daily connections through Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Already in 2012 Etihad Airways has announced the launch of non-stop flights to Sao Paulo, Washington, D.C., Addis Ababa and Ahmadabad. These cities are part of the airline’s 10-year network growth plan which will see Etihad Airways fly to up to 100 destinations with a fleet of more than 150 aircraft by 2020.