First-class outing for Etihad at Skytrax global airline awards

Middle Eastern airlines cleaned up once again at the latest Skytrax awards

Etihad Airways has scooped three major awards at The World Travel Awards, Middle East in Dubai. Silvia Razgova / The National
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Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways has scooped a hat-trick of best-in-class prizes at the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards at the Farnborough International Airshow.

Etihad's awards included the "best first-class" title for the third consecutive year, as well as "best first-class seats" and "best first-class catering".

In recent years Etihad has won Skytrax awards for its onboard food and beverage managers in business class; for its Poltrona Frau luxury leather first-class seats; and now, after the introduction of onboard first-class chefs, it has won all three first-class award categories in one year.

"To once again win every available Skytrax Award in the first-class category is a fantastic achievement for Etihad Airways," said Peter Baumgartner,the carrier's chief commercial officer.

"The Skytrax awards are renowned across the world for reflecting the thoughts and views of millions of air travellers, and we are delighted that our premium service and product is considered the industry's very best," Mr Baumgartner said.

The other major carriers from around the region, including Dubai's Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways, came away from England's Farnborough International Airshow with awards too.

Qatar Airways took three top accolades including the main award, "world's best airline", for the second year running. The Doha-based carrier was also voted "best airline in the Middle East" for the seventh consecutive year and took the "best airline staff service" award in the region.

"I am extremely proud of the adulation given once again by the very people who fly - the travelling public - for their support and faith in Qatar Airways," said the airline's chief executive, Akbar Al Baker.

"Retaining awards is always difficult, but we have managed to do so amid the tough competition, which only shows we remain focused in our day-to-day job of offering passengers what they fully deserve - the highest standards of service both in the air and on the ground."

And for a record-setting eighth consecutive year, Emirate Airline's Ice in-flight entertainment system received the "world's best airline in-flight entertainment" award.

"Since becoming the first airline to install TVs in every seat on every aircraft back in 1992, Emirates has focused on continually investing in and improving our in-flight entertainment experience for our passengers," said Patrick Brannelly, the carrier's vice president for corporate communications.

"To receive the prestigious Skytrax 'world's best airline in-flight entertainment' award for the eighth year in a row is not only a testament to our efforts but illustrates our passengers' appreciation."

The Skytrax awards, conducted by the global aviation research organisation, are based on a poll of more than 18 million business and leisure air travellers from more than 100 countries, who vote on all aspects of their airline experience.