04 Dec 2015 07:00
Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based national airline of the United Arab Emirates, was last night named Airline of the Year 2016 by the prestigious US-based aviation industry publication Air Transport World (ATW).
Leading international industry publication honours Abu Dhabi carrier for its unique growth strategy.
Etihad Airways was chosen for
the top honour by ATW’s editorial board in a highly contested competition, with
entries from more than 100 airlines around the world. The award recognises
Etihad Airways’ clear vision; its successful organic growth supplemented by a
unique partnership strategy; its commercial focus which has delivered net
profits in each of the last four years; the rapid growth of its highly
motivated workforce; its development of innovative products and services,
including The Residence by Etihad™; and the airline’s strong executive leadership.
Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker
said: “I am absolutely delighted to recognise Etihad
Airways as ATW’s Airline of the Year 2016. In a fiercely competitive market
where much ends up looking the same, James Hogan and his team prove that you
can set your airline apart through innovative thinking, creative customer
products and a fierce adherence to delivering against a clear vision. I
congratulate Etihad Airways for a most deserving achievement.”
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer,
said: “I am pleased to accept this award on behalf of the 27,000 employees of
the Etihad Airways group around the world. I applaud their commitment, dedication
and hard work in pursuit of our goal to be the world’s best 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.
News of the award was
announced during a reception hosted in New York last night by Etihad Airways to
mark the arrival of its award-winning Airbus A380 daily service from Abu Dhabi
to America’s financial capital.
Following a carefully planned
strategy of organic growth and strategic investments in selected airlines
around the world, Etihad Airways has rapidly developed into an airline of
choice, setting benchmarks in service and hospitality, with innovation at the
core of its business.
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”; its
unique partnership strategy that was paying dividends; a willingness to be bold
in equity tie-ups boosting the number over the past 12 months to include Etihad
Regional and Alitalia; and its strategy of developing ground-breaking strategic
contracts with suppliers.
ATW also spoke highly of Etihad
diplomatic, dignified and assured response to attacks by US airlines on Gulf carriers”
in which Etihad Airways had developed a powerful defence of its business model
and strategy. ATW said Etihad Airways’ executive team, led by President and Chief
Executive Officer James Hogan, had maintained the high road and, in doing so,
demonstrated industry leadership beyond the company mandate.
James Hogan added: “There have been attacks on our business model but we
have chosen to let our service, our routes and our competitive offer do the
“Etihad Airways is not about being the biggest – it is about being the
best. It has been a long road to success
but we have shown it is possible to change the aviation landscape. I thank ATW
for this award, the most highly-regarded in our industry.”
Mr. Hogan said Etihad Airways constantly shifted the goal posts in service
and product offerings, as demonstrated by last week’s arrival of the airline’s
first US service featuring its award-winning Airbus A380s, now flying to New
York’s JFK International Airport. The A380, which
made its US debut on 23 November, features The Residence by Etihad™ – the
commercial airline industry’s only three-room suite with its own butler. And
this week, Etihad Airways opened a new lounge for First and Business Class
passengers at JFK International Airport – the airline’s second premium facility
in the United States – reinforcing its commitment to investing in the guest travel
experience on the ground.
Over the past 12 months, Etihad Airways also launched its
new Boeing 787 Dreamliner – the first of 71 on order – and inducted the first
of 10 Airbus A380 aircraft into its fleet.
A key part of Etihad Airways’ unique growth strategy has
been to strike equity partnerships with other airlines. This year, it took a 49
per cent stake in Italian carrier Alitalia in a game-changing deal. This added
to minority stakes in airberlin, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, Air Serbia, Air
Seychelles and Etihad Regional.
The airline launched six new routes on three continents
during 2015 taking its global network of destinations to 116 with a fleet of 120
aircraft. More than 17 million guests are expected to travel on Etihad Airways by
the end of 2015, up from almost 15 million last year, while the airline maintains its
focus on profitability.
Air 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.
The Airline of the Year award
will be presented at a Gala Dinner at the 42nd edition of the annual
ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards taking place during the Singapore Air
Show on 15 February 2016.