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Tue 2 Dec 2008 03:40 PM

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Etihad set to step up relief flights from Thailand

UAE carrier announces plan to fly twice a day to help tourists stranded by civil unrest.

Etihad Airways is to operate its fifth special flight today  from Thailand to help travellers stranded since last week's civil unrest closed Bangkok airport and the carrier has announced plans to fly twice a day from Wednesday.The national airline of the UAE has flown 1,600 passengers on four relief flights so far from U-Tapao airport in Thailand to its home base of Abu Dhabi with many rescued travellers flying onwards to Europe, Africa and other parts of the Middle East. 

A further 400 passengers will travel on Tuesday evening on the airline's fifth special service.

Etihad Airways is finalising plans to start two flights a day for stranded travellers from Wednesday with one aircraft operating from U-Tapao and the other flying from Phuket.

Captain Richard Hill, the airline's executive vice president operations, said: "We've flown in extra staff from our Abu Dhabi headquarters to Thailand to help our full time team based there to try and help run the operation more smoothly and efficiently for travellers who understandably are keen to return home as soon as possible to see their loved ones.”

The airline suspended its double daily service to Suvarnabhumi airport following its closure on Wednesday November 26. Services will be resumed when the airport reopens.

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