Emirates’ first commercial flight to southern Thailand departed Dubai on Monday with the launch of the non-stop, daily service to Phuket.
Phuket has become the airline’s 128th destination and the service will significantly boost the city’s international flight capacity and connect it to Emirates’ ever growing global network across six continents.
The launch also signifies Emirates’ commitment to Thailand, a country that the airline has been flying to since 1990 when it began flights to Bangkok
Operated by a three-class Airbus A340-300 aircraft, EK378 departs Dubai at 1245hrs and arrives at Phuket International Airport at 2155hrs. The return flight, EK379 departs at 0035hrs the following day and arrives at Dubai International Airport at 0435hrs.
The delegation on board the inaugural flight to Phuket included Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Far East & Australasia; His Excellency Warawudh Chuwiruch, Thai Ambassador to the UAE; Brigadier Obaid Bin Suroor, Deputy Director of Dubai Immigration, DNRD; Khalid bin Touq, Executive Director Licensing & Classification Section, DTCM; Hiran Perera, Senior Vice President, Cargo Planning and Freighters and representatives from the media.
“The launch of our non-stop, daily service between Phuket and Dubai perfectly coincides with the upcoming festive season with Phuket being a favourite destination for many holidaymakers. Today heralds a new level of connectivity for the Island with Emirates’ international network of more than 120 destinations,” said Mr Obaidalla.
“Emirates has a long standing affiliation with Thailand and the country is indeed an important market for Emirates. This newly launched service will support Thailand’s tourism sector by enhancing inbound arrivals from the UAE, the larger Middle East region as well as traditional markets like Europe. Emirates will be working hard to promote Phuket across our network and continuing our support of Thailand and working closely with the government,” added Mr Obaidalla.
“Phuket in the past few years has experienced a healthy reputation, and growth. Phuket as an island is the gateway to the south part of Thailand making it a major hub, for people to expand their travels to Khao Lak, Phang-nga, Koh Samui, Trat, as well as Krabi, Koh Lipe, and many more. With TAT’s current strategy in promoting Phuket and Beyond, we are sure that Emirates will play an important role in this plan, and with the support of everyone attending here, TAT is confident that Phuket and beyond will succeed,” said Mr. Manit Boonchim, Executive Director of Europe Africa and Middle East Region, Tourism Authority of Thailand
The launch of a daily non-stop flight to Phuket, operated by an A340-300 with a belly hold capacity of 13 tonnes, will take Emirates SkyCargo’s weekly cargo capacity into and out of the country to more than 640 tonnes. This capacity is spread across four flights to Bangkok and one to Phuket.
Imports into Phuket are mainly meat, spare parts, diving equipment, office supplies and fish, while the top exports include tuna, live shrimp and crab. Due to the popularity of Thailand as a tourist destination, there is also strong demand for the movement of personal effects and household goods into and out of the island.