Etihad Airways, the airline that Rory works for, has officially begun flying between Abu Dhabi and Seoul, Korea. Rory was part of the crew that flew out before the launch and took part in the press conference as well as events with high-level Korean officials.
This is great news for Rory, as she can now visit her mom whenever she has to work on a flight to Korea and it is good for me also, because now I will be able to see my in-laws as it makes going to Korea a lot easier.
I think that this new service route was a long-time coming. Recently, there has been a lot of big business deals between the UAE (particularly Abu Dhabi) and large Korean businesses (Chaebol 재벌).
- In December last year, the UAE awarded a South Korean group a deal to build and operate four initial nuclear reactors in the Gulf Arab state. South Korea expects to lend about $10 billion to help build those same plants (I don’t get it)
- South Korea will also send special operations troops to the UAE to help train soldiers in the Middle Eastern nation
- They are building petrol stations in Abu Dhabi
- The UAE and Korea are developing cementing trade links
- Korean firms are also behind major projects such as the Burj Khalifa and the nearly complete Abu Dhabi’s Al Salam Tunnel both by Samsung
I want to do another post that explores the huge Korean conglomerates in more depth. But I think this shows how there are many ties between Korea and the UAE.
For anyone interested, I have put together a map of Korean restaurants, groceries and entertainment venues in the UAE. If you know or find somewhere that isn’t on this map, please feel free to suggest it in the comments and I will add it.
UPDATE - I just saw in the National newspaper today that there will be a Korean film showcase in Abu Dhabi hosted by the Korean Embassy. The free, three-day Korean Film Series will be held at Abu Dhabi Theater starting on Saturday, December 18, marking 30 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and the UAE. A Korean chef will prepare food during the screening and free flights to Seoul will be given away. Abu Dhabi Week did a good article on it too.
Apparently, the event is co-organized by the Embassy and King Sejong Institute, which was founded at Zayed University this past October and is the the first organization to teach Korean language and culture in the UAE.