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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – VPS Healthcare, a leading integrated healthcare service provider with 20 operational hospitals and over 125 medical centres across the Middle East, Europe and India, has chosen Etihad Airways as its preferred air transport provider for patients travelling from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi for medical treatment. 

Etihad will provide VPS Healthcare with special rates on air fares on its flights from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, complementing VPS’s medical services at its eight hospitals, including the flagship Burjeel Hospital, and clinics in Abu Dhabi. The deal was announced at a meeting at Etihad headquarters, attended by senior Etihad Aviation Group executives and Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Two of Abu Dhabi’s most esteemed brands are working together to reinforce the capital’s reputation as a world-class medical hub. Etihad is tremendously experienced in providing in-flight care and assistance to international travellers with pre-existing medical conditions. This expertise is a major factor in VPS Healthcare’s decision to select Etihad as their preferred airline from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are comforted in the knowledge that our Saudi based customers will be guaranteed the highest standards of world-class medical care once on the ground in Abu Dhabi.”

“Abu Dhabi’s location makes it an ideal setting for a hub for medical tourism, with two-thirds of the world’s population just a few hours flight away and we are excited to be working with Etihad Airways, knowing that our patients will be in good hands during their journey,” said Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare.

“World-class healthcare is one of the pillars of the National Agenda, and the Abu Dhabi government is supporting initiatives to build a robust healthcare system,” added Dr. Shamsheer. “Due to the rigorous regulations mandated by the Ministry of Health & Prevention, visitors and patients are assured of the highest quality of safety and care.”

In July 2018, Etihad Airways launched two specialised services for air travellers with pre-existing medical conditions, ensuring continuity of care and in-flight safety. 

The ‘one-stop-shop’ services – the first in the region to be offered by an airline – are carried out by members of the Etihad medical team, all of whom are qualified in aviation and transport medicine.

The first service allows guests, who require medical clearance prior to travel, the opportunity to request an Etihad aviation doctor to visit them and conduct an evaluation in consultation with their attending physician.

All medical forms and assessments will be completed by the Etihad doctor on-site, leading to a recommendation about their ‘fit to fly’ status within one day.

The second service is an in-flight nurse who can accompany guests during their trip and provide medical support from all the Etihad destinations.

Dr. Nadia Bastaki, Vice President Medical Services, Etihad Aviation Group, added: “We are committed with our partnership with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi to deliver their goal of promoting the capital as a hub for medical tourism, and we are working on multiple initiatives to support the wider Abu Dhabi vision.”

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