In our on-going series, Know an Airline, we present an in-depth look at one of the world’s leading carriers. This time we’re looking at Etihad Airways. Recently Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based national airline of the United Arab Emirates, was awarded Airline of the Year 2016 by the US-based aviation industry publication Air Transport World (ATW).
Etihad Airways was chosen for the top honour by ATW from more than 100 airlines around the world and received the award at a Gala Dinner attended by industry peers at the 42 nd edition of the annual ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards on the eve of the Singapore Air Show.
Etihad was recognized for their strong business model, inflight experience, management and a host of other reasons. We’re fans of Etihad Airways having flown them many times so we thought this was a good opportunity to introduce you to some of their more unique features.
During 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 fleet.
Their recent introduction of unique Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 cabin interiors have reset industry benchmarks. These include The Residence – the world’s first three-room on board apartment comprising a bedroom, lounge and ensuite shower.
We also think their approach to building an alliance loyalty program all under one roof is pretty unique. Etihad Airways has made large equity stakes in airberlin, Swiss-based Darwin Airline, Air Serbia, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Air Seychelles and Virgin Australia . They are carefully but consistently building their own global airline alliance. They haven’t hit the critical mass of Star Alliance of course, but the plan seems to be working. We’d like to see more consistency in hard and soft product across their airlines, but we’re sure that will come with time.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, received the award and summed up his goals, ”This award recognizes what we set out to do as an airline 13 years ago – to be safe, profitable and simply the best.” In reality they have come quite a long way in 13 years. They should be proud.