Etihad Airways has won four titles at the annual World Travel Awards ceremony for the Middle East, including the title as the Middle East’s Leading Airline. The ceremony took place at the Armani Hotel Dubai in the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The Abu Dhabi-based airline also received the Middle East’s Leading Airline First Class award, Middle East’s Leading Cabin Staff award and Middle East’s Leading Airline In-flight Entertainment award.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: “It is truly an honor to win Leading Airline for the Middle East. Our home market is extremely important to Etihad, so I am especially pleased to be recognized by our guests and peers from the region in this way.
The award for Middle East’s Leading First Class Airline recognizes Etihad’s Diamond First class suites, which feature a luxurious Poltrona Frau leather seat that converts to a fully flat bed, a large wood-finished table, Arabic-styled sliding doors offering complete privacy, a 23-inch personal entertainment screen, a personal wardrobe with mirror, and four individual lighting options with dimmers, in-seat power points and USBs.
The First class cabin also includes a spacious and comfortable changing room. The “Inspired Service” concept was a key reason behind Etihad winning the title of Middle East’s Leading Cabin Staff. Etihad’s state-of-the art e-box on-demand system won the Middle East’s Leading In-flight Entertainment.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, also launched its new premium travel service portfolio “Premium Connect” and signed a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet, the Middle East’s award-winning international luxury private charter service provider at the recent Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.
In a move to support the Tunisian tourism industry and to provide passengers with more flexible travel options, Emirates has launched an additional weekly flight between Dubai and Tunis. Emirates, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, will now operate four flights per week to Tunis from its hub in Dubai.
“Emirates is committed to offering its customers the best travel experience on the market and now customers in Tunisia have even more convenient access to our network of over 110 global destinations,” said Jean Luc Grillet, The carrier’s SVP for commercial operations for Africa.
Currently, Emirates’ flights to Tunis are served by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft offering 237 seats in a three-class configuration: 12 First Class suites, 42 Business Class and 183 Economy Class seats. Emirates currently operates 15 A380s on the following routes: Jeddah, London Heathrow, Manchester, New York, Paris, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Bangkok, Seoul, and Hong Kong and Beijing and Shanghai.
Emirates airline operates a fleet of 152 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 111 destinations in 66 countries and has placed orders for an additional 200 aircraft, worth more than $68 billion.
Qatar Airways is to significantly increase flights to Saudi Arabia with the introduction of a fourth destination and additional services to existing markets, representing a 71 percent rise in frequency. Madinah becomes the Doha-based airline’s newest destination in the Kingdom with four-flights-a-week, beginning July 14. The Doha-Madinah route will be operated non-stop with an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in First Class and 132 in Economy.
The new route launch is in addition to increased capacity to Saudi Arabia’s two largest cities – Riyadh and Jeddah, which will each see their daily services rise to double daily, effective June 1. Riyadh sits in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula and is one of Saudi Arabia’s fastest growing cities. Jeddah is also the main entry point for pilgrims making the Haj pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah. Also from June 1, Dammam will see capacity increase from the current 21 flights a week to 28.
The capacity increases help facilitate the growing religious tourism industry in Saudi Arabia. And the extra frequencies provide added convenience for both business and leisure travelers, offering greater connectivity to an array of international destinations the airline serves, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker said. The airline also announced a further expansion of its international route network with Uganda, Azerbaijan and Georgia joining its ever-growing list of countries served direct from its Doha hub.
Qatar Airways has also announced that its corporate jet division, Qatar Executive, will add three new Bombardier aircraft to its fleet starting from later this month. Forging ahead to meet the growing demand for business jet services from the Middle East and globally, the carrier has swiftly taken measures to increase its fleet capacity to cater to the surge in private travel in the region and worldwide.