x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Etihad gains premium boost as UAE carriers win global accolades

Etihad Airways’ premium offerings helped it win accolades at the World Travel Awards, giving the Abu Dhabi carrier a boost in the fast-growing upmarket segment.

Etihad Airways took home the world’s leading airline award for the fifth straight year. Patrick Riviere / Getty Images
Etihad Airways took home the world’s leading airline award for the fifth straight year. Patrick Riviere / Getty Images

Etihad Airways’ premium offerings have helped it win accolades at the World Travel Awards, giving the Abu Dhabi carrier a boost in the fast-growing upmarket segment.

The airline won awards in the world’s leading airline, the first-class and cabin crew categories.

In August, premium long-haul travel, including business class, increased 24.9 per cent year-on -year for the Europe to Middle East routes, and 14.9 per cent for the Middle East to Far East routes, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata). That was partly because Ramadan took place in July.

That month, overall international premium passenger numbers rose 8.6 per cent year on year, compared to the 1.4 per cent year-on-year pace of growth in July.

“Business confidence has been increasing throughout the third quarter, and Europe and the United States have both shown signs of improving economic conditions,” Iata said last month following a 3.3 per cent year on year rise in international premium travel in September.

This year, Etihad introduced on-board chefs for its first-class cabin, a flying nanny for families traveling with children, and launched first-class and business-class lounges in Paris and Washington. It also rolled out Wi-Fi internet access, mobile telephone connectivity and live television services.

The UAE’s carriers dominated the awards that involved the voting participation of travel professionals from 171 countries. 

For the fifth straight year, Etihad took home the world’s leading airline award, beating 19 airlines including Qatar Airways.

And for the seventh consecutive year, Abu Dhabi’s Royal Jet retained its crown as the world’s leading private jet charter.

In Dubai, Emirates Airline’s first-class lounge at terminal three of Dubai International Airport was recognised as the world’s best.

The UAE’s overall travel sector also swept top accolades at the event in Doha in a week when Dubai’s successful bid to host Expo 2020 signalled a robust outlook for the growth of tourism in the Emirates.

The emirate itself bagged the title of the world’s leading destination.

Dubai’s efforts at increasing cruise tourism received a boost as Port Rashid was named the world’s leading cruise port. The Dubai World Trade Centre took the title for the world’s leading meetings and conference centre.

Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis, the tallest hotel in the world, was named the best new hotel and Jumeirah Group’s Burj Al Arab was named the world’s leading hotel.

The UAE’s home-grown Rotana Hotels group was honoured as the world’s leading business hotel brand.

In the capital, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, the Beach Rotana Hotel and the Emirates Palace Hotel all scooped awards.

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