15 Feb 2016 19:00
Leading aviation title honours UAE national carrier for strong leadership in developing unique growth strategy and setting global industry benchmarks
Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based national airline of the United Arab
Emirates, was this evening (Feb 15) presented with the coveted Airline of the Year
2016 award by the prestigious US-based aviation industry publication Air
Transport World (ATW).
The accolade acknowledged Etihad Airways’ strong executive leadership team
in developing a profitable strategy of organic growth and unique equity
partnerships; introducing ground-breaking products and services; creating the
foundations for building a motivated workforce; and engaging in a diplomatic,
dignified defence of its business model in the wake of fierce opposition by US
Etihad Airways was chosen for the top honour by ATW’s distinguished editorial
board in a highly contested competition, with entries from more than 100
airlines around the world.
The award was presented at a Gala Dinner attended by industry peers at the
42nd edition of the annual ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards
on the eve of the Singapore Air Show.
Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “This award
recognises what we set out to do as an airline 13 years ago – to be safe,
profitable and simply the best.
“It is a
reflection of our strengths – a robust business model and innovative products
and superior service delivered by our 27,000 dedicated employees. I am
delighted to accept this award on their behalf. As an airline, we have offered
a unique proposition to the travelling public and expanded our business to help
shape the changing global aviation landscape.”
To earn the top
accolade, ATW said an airline must demonstrate exceptional achievements and
capabilities across its operations, financial performance, customer service,
safety and employee relations. The executive leadership team must also clearly
show innovation and strategic thinking that sets the company apart.
Karen Walker, Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief, said: “Etihad Airways is clearly an airline
apart from the pack and one that sets its own course. It is a pleasure to celebrate the
achievements of the Etihad Airways team at the 2016 ATW Airline Achievement
Awards in Singapore. Etihad is highly deserving of our top award, Airline of
the Year. James Hogan puts it best - it's not about being the biggest, it's
about being the best."
- On products and customer
service, Etihad Airways was described by ATW as being bold and innovative,
highlighting the introduction of unique Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 cabin
interiors as setting industry benchmarks. These include The Residence –
the world’s first three-room on board apartment comprising a bedroom,
lounge and ensuite shower.
- On airline tie-ups, ATW noted
Etihad Airways’ equity stakes in selected airlines around the world as
being the foundation of its business model. Equity stakes in airberlin,
Swiss-based Darwin Airline, Air Serbia, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Air
Seychelles and Virgin Australia helped Etihad Airways create a unique proposition
of more passenger choice, greater scale for negotiation with key
suppliers, enhanced shared training resources for crew and other
employees, and heightened network integration.
- On US
carriers’ accusing Gulf carriers of anti-competitive practices, ATW said
James Hogan and his team maintained dignity by consistently defending
Etihad Airways’ business model focusing on the facts rather than personal
attacks. ATW editors showered particular praise on Etihad Airways on this
issue in which James Hogan said: “Many stones were thrown at us,
but we responded calmly and with facts, showing that we bring new
competition to markets.”
- On employees, ATW defined
Etihad Airways as a ‘good citizen’ describing its workforce as ‘our
family’ and for embarking on aggressive plans to grow its local workforce
and offer UAE nationals, now numbering 3,000 within the group, with career
paths through various programmes and initiatives. Staff are supported with
a 24/7 HR number, a dedicated welfare team, onsite medical centre, gyms to
promote wellness and healthy living, top of the range staff accommodation
and an onsite nursery.
- On sustainability, ATW
commended Etihad Airways for a number of initiatives focused on
fuel-saving, pioneering alternative fuel research with key partners, and
engaging employees in recycling programmes.
2015, Etihad Airways launched six new routes on three continents taking its
global network of destinations to 116 with a fleet of 121 aircraft. More than
17 million guests flew on Etihad Airways last year, up from almost 15 million in
2014. Etihad Airways also launched its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner – the first of
71 on order – and phased in the first of 10 Airbus A380 aircraft into its
Etihad Airways was recognised by ATW’s editorial board for “fast but
thoughtful growth, consistently delivering against its targets and always
thinking ahead.” The airline was also applauded for its “excellent numbers on
financials, cargo and safety.”
Transport World is an authoritative monthly magazine serving the
needs of the global airline and commercial air transport manufacturing
communities. Its renowned editors have been nominated for nearly every major
aviation journalism award available thanks to their balanced coverage of the
airline industry and incisive reports on trends.
Airline Industry Achievement Awards were created in 1974 to recognise
excellence across a broad range of airline operations and are widely considered
as the most coveted in the aviation industry. The magazine is based in the
United States with an editorial team that reaches across the world.