, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 9 – Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, has announced a plan to introduce new service to Phuket, the largest island in Thailand located in the Andaman Sea.
Emirates will link Phuket, the airline’s second destination in Thailand after Bangkok, through its Dubai hub, beginning December 10.
Emirates Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa Jean Luc Grillet said: “Emirates is looking forward to the launch of our daily service to Phuket, well known as a holiday resort, just in time for Kenyans planning for their holiday season and we are confident that Phuket will prove a popular destination for our passengers.”
He continued: “Our tour operating arm, Emirates Holidays, now offers tailor made holidays to Phuket featuring many of Phuket’s attractions from lush vistas and the turquoise waters of its sandy western shoreline, to cultural landmarks such as Chalong Temple and old Phuket Town.”
Thailand is an important market for Emirates, which currently operates four daily flights between Dubai and Bangkok, including one with Airbus A380 aircraft. In addition to improving tourism between the two countries, the new route is also expected to improve trade, which is in favour of Thailand.
The value of Kenya imports from Thailand currently stands at about seven times the value of its exports. While the total volume of trade between the two countries was Sh10 billion ($111.5 million) in December 2010, only Sh1.3 billion ($14.7 million) were Kenya exports to Thailand.
“Thailand is famous with Kenyan traders as source of consumer goods like textiles, plastic ware, sugar, rice, beauty, etc. On the other hand, Thailand buys from Kenya Gemstones, cement, fish, inorganic chemicals and we hope our new service to Phuket, will greatly improve connectivity and capacity, enhance efficiency and boost trade between the two countries,” Grillet added.
Operated by a three-class Airbus aircraft, EK378 will depart Dubai at 1245hrs and arrive at Phuket International Airport at 2155hrs. The return flight, EK379 will depart at 0035hrs the following day and arrive at Dubai International Airport at 0435hrs.
Emirates will offer its customers in all cabins meals prepared by gourmet chefs, award-winning service from the airline’s international cabin crew recruited from over 120 countries, as well as ice, the airlines’ entertainment system which offers over 1,400 channels of entertainment and the facility to send and receive emails and text messages on board.
Phuket will become the 15th route launch for the airline this year and the second in South East Asia following on from Ho Chi Minh City in June. With a fleet of 178 aircraft and already the largest A380 operator in the world, with 22 in service, Emirates currently flies to 125 destinations in 74 countries.