Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and has emerged as one of the world's most popular destinations for both holidays and retirement.

Located in the Andaman Sea, tourists flock to the island for its pristine natural beaches and year-round sunshine.

The new service will be launched from October 26 this year using two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, with 22 Pearl Business seats and 240 Coral Economy seats.

The flights have been scheduled to provide optimal connectivity between Phuket and key markets across Europe and the GCC.

Phuket will become the second destination in Thailand to be served by Etihad Airways and the seventh in southeast Asia alongside Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.

"We have a very successful track record in Thailand. The capital city, Bangkok, has ranked as our most popular route for the past four years, with 742,759 passengers flown in 2013 alone," James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Expanding our reach in the country with a daily service to Phuket is therefore natural progression," he added.

Phuket is the ninth route to be announced by Etihad Airways in 2014.


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