By Andy Sambidge
Airline says it will launch daily services to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's commercial capital
Etihad Airways said on Friday it will launch daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's commercial capital, in October 2013.
It will be Etihad Airways' sixth destination within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, joining Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Singapore.
The airline said in a statement that the new service is set to meet growing demand from Vietnam's rapidly expanding economy.
Rival airline Emirates launched flights to Ho Chi Minh City on June 4.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways' president and CEO, 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 travellers."
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 $3bn and two-way trade revenue approximately $1.3bn.
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."
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 Vietnam and the UAE. More and more tourists will come to Vietnam and a greater number of tourists will come to the UAE."
So far this year, Etihad 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 which will see Etihad fly to up to 100 destinations with a fleet of more than 150 aircraft by 2020.