06 May 2013 06:30

Etihad Airways has received the prestigious title of Middle East’s Leading Airline at the World Travel Awards Middle East, for a remarkable seventh consecutive year. 

The accolade was one of three awards won by the national airline of the United Arab Emirates during the black tie event held at Dubai’s Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa last night.

Etihad Airways was also recognised for the Middle East’s Leading Airline First Class and Middle East’s Leading Cabin Crew.

The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to seek out and reward the very best travel organisations in the world, acknowledging the elite organisations in their respective fields through a global vote by travel professionals. The World Travel Awards has achieved top industry status and been named by the Wall Street Journal as the “Oscars of the Travel Industry”.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “On behalf of the whole Etihad Airways’ team, I am delighted to accept the title of Middle East’s Leading Airline. Everything we do is focused on giving our guests the best possible travel experience.

“Through organic growth, codeshares and equity stakes, we expanded our network to a total of 248 destinations across the globe in 2012, offering greater flexibility and choice for our guests.

“Complementing this expanding global network, we are continuously investing in innovation to ensure our guests benefit from the latest advances in technology and design,” he said.

“December, for example, saw the launch of our new ‘Etihad Wi-Fly’ inflight high-speed, broadband internet and mobile phone connectivity service. We are progressively rolling this service out and our entire fleet will be equipped with connectivity by the end of 2014.

“We are also continuing to make significant investments in our premium lounges, featuring a range of exclusive services designed to make the journey more relaxing and enjoyable.

“The hallmark of Etihad Airways is the warm and generous hospitality that is drawn from the traditional Arabian culture in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and, of which, we are extremely proud,” Mr Hogan said.

Graham E. Cooke, World Travel Awards President & Founder, said: “Etihad Airways has enjoyed the most impressive twelve months yet in its 10 year history. Its strategy of organic growth and savvy partnerships, coupled with an unrivalled commitment to quality and service, has delivered record results and soaring passenger growth.

“We congratulate Etihad Airways for winning ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline’, ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline First Class’ and ‘Middle East’s Leading Cabin Staff’ at World Travel Awards Middle East Ceremony 2013.”

The success at the World Travel Awards follows another triumph for the airline this week. At the 2013 Business Traveller Middle East Awards, on May 5, Etihad Airways took home the titles for Airline with the Best First Class and Airline with the Best Frequent Flyer Programme.

In 2012, Etihad Airways:

  • Achieved profitability for a second year.

  • Purchased three equity stakes: 40 per cent in Air Seychelles; 10 per cent in Virgin Australia; and 2.987 per cent in Aer Lingus. Along with its 29.21 per cent stake in airberlin and 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways, the six airlines together form the world’s first airline equity alliance.

  • Increased fleet by six to 70 aircraft, enabling access to 86 Etihad Airways passenger and cargo destinations, and 248 codeshare destinations.

  • Began flying to six new destinations - Tripoli, Shanghai, Nairobi, Lagos, Ahmedabad and Basra. The airline has also announced new flights to Washington, Amsterdam, Sao Paolo, Belgrade, Sana’a and Ho Chi Minh City for 2013.

  • Increased frequency and capacity of services to six cities - Dusseldorf, Bangkok, Kuwait, Dammam, Istanbul and Cairo.

  • Continued development of codeshare relationships, now up to 43 partner airlines.

  • Began implementing the advanced SabreSonic platform in preparation for the February 2013 launch.

  • Launched its new “Etihad Wi-Fly” inflight high-speed, broadband internet and mobile phone connectivity service, powered by the Panasonic Avionics Global Communications Suite. This is the first deployment of the technology that will flow from a US$1 billion 10-year contract with Panasonic.

  • Acquired a majority stake in a new entity incorporated to own airberlin’s topbonus frequent flyer program. The entity forms part of a new global loyalty management company established by Etihad Airways.

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