Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is beginning daily service to South Korea's capital Seoul on December 12. Seoul will...

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is beginning daily service to South Korea’s capital Seoul on December 12.

Seoul will become the 65th destination on Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways’ network.

Etihad Airways will operate a daily service eastbound to Seoul’s Incheon Airport (ICN) from its home base in Abu Dhabi, operating Airbus A330-200s on the route. Westbound services from Seoul to Abu Dhabi will operate four days a week, with three days seeing twice-a-day service.

The Etihad A330-200s will be configured with three cabins and will provide 10 First-class, 26 Business-class and 164 Economy-class seats. The airline will offer 2,800 seats each week to and from Seoul.

“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,” says James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer. “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.”

Etihad Airways' long-haul fleet includes 16 Airbus A330-200s, as well as other Airbus and Boeing types. Etihad operates A330-200s on many routes and will operate the type on its new Abu Dhabi-Seoul Incheon service, due to launch on December 12, 2010

At present, there are more than 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 $40 billion.

“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,” says Hogan.

The new service will offer South Korean air travellers convenient connections via Abu Dhabi to and from a number of key destinations across Etihad Airways’ global network, including the Gulf Cooperative Council states, Istanbul, Athens, London, Paris and South Africa.

Etihad Airways’ proposed schedule from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Seoul Incheon Airport calls for flight EY876 to depart AUH at 10:45 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and land at ICN at 12:05 p.m. local time. Flight EY872 is scheduled to leave AUH at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and to reach ICN at 11:50 p.m. local time.

In the other direction, which will see service on four days a week (two flights will operate each day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), flight EY875 is timed to push back at ICN at 5:40 p.m. local time on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in order to make an 11:20 p.m. arrival at AUH. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, flight EY873 will depart ICN at 1:10 a.m. and to reach AUH at 6:50 a.m.