Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced it will commence operations to the South Korean capital, Seoul, on December 12, Seoul will become the 65th destination on Etihad’s network.
Etihad will operate a daily return service to Seoul’s Incheon Airport from its home base in Abu Dhabi, operating Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route. The Etihad aircraft will be configured with three cabins, offering 2,800 seats each week to and from Seoul.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said: “South Korea is emerging as a key partner for the UAE, and the decision to commence services to Seoul reflects this strengthening partnership. Over the past two years, Korean business has been building a strong presence in the UAE, particularly in the clean energy sector, construction, technology and small to medium enterprises.
“We expect the increasing trade relations between the two countries will lead to growing numbers of business travellers, as well as people from both regions visiting friends and relatives.”
At present, there are over 5,000 Korean nationals living and working in the UAE, as well as a significant number of Korean businesses in operation.
Earlier this year, H.H. Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, visited Seoul to reinforce the strategic partnership between the two countries.
The visit followed the announcement in December 2009 that a South Korean consortium had won a landmark contract to build and operate four nuclear power reactors in the UAE, worth around US$40 billion.
Mr Hogan said: “These developments are very exciting for the UAE and will play a key role in the Emirates’ evolution. We are committed to supporting trade between the two countries through our passenger and freight services.”
The new service will offer South Korean air travellers convenient onward connections via Abu Dhabi to a number of key destinations across the airline’s global network, including the GCC, Istanbul, Athens, London, Paris and South Africa.
“Etihad Airways is grateful to the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Abu Dhabi Government, along with South Korean Government and its Civil Aviation Authority for their support, which has enabled the planned commencement of these important new services,” Mr Hogan said.