Etihad Airways wins Airline of the Year 2016 award

Flying overseas in 2016? Make sure you read this before booking your flights.

Etihad Airways airplane best airline 2016

Considering taking an overseas trip next year? Make sure you read this before booking your flights.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has taken out the title of Airline of the Year for 2016. With entries from over 100 airlines from around the world, Air Transport World (ATW) awarded Etihad Airways first place for its unique growth strategy.

Its clear vision, commercial focus, the rapid growth of its highly motivated workforce, successful organic growth and unique partnership strategy were all factors in Etihad winning the top honour, as well as its innovative products and services, including The Residence by Etihad.

Now in its 41st year, ATW’s Airline Industry Achievement Awards were created to recognise excellence across a broad range of airline operations and are widely considered the most coveted in the aviation industry.

ATW Editor-in-Chief Karen Walker said she was “absolutely delighted to recognise Etihad Airways as ATW’s Airline of the Year 2016”, adding “In a fiercely competitive market where much ends up looking the same, James Hogan and his team prove that you can set your airline apart through innovative thinking, creative customer products and a fierce adherence to delivering against a clear vision.”

James Hogan, CEO and President of Etihad Airways said of the award, “There have been attacks on our business model but we have chosen to let our service, our routes and our competitive offer do the talking. Etihad Airways is not about being the biggest – it is about being the best.  It has been a long road to success but we have shown it is possible to change the aviation landscape.”

Having travelled with Etihad as recently as two weeks ago when I flew back to London from Melbourne, I would agree it is up there as the best airline in the world. However, on all four of my flights in the past month, sadly a few members of staff have let its otherwise first rate service down.

Have you flown with Etihad? What do you think of it? Is it deserving of this title of Airline of the Year for 2016?

Etihad and Flybuys partnership


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    26th Dec 2015
    Following our flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi with Etihad a few years ago my wife & I decided never to fly with them again. Apart from very crapped seating, very little leg room which made the flight unpleasant, several of the crew had an attitude problem. With so many other good airlines operating the Australia to Europe route I doubt whether we would risk going with them again, in spite of their award for being the best(?).
    29th Dec 2015
    We booked a flight to Europe with Etihad at a travel expo, the people at the travel show stand praised the seating etc.
    Well, I found this to be bs. Very average experience.
    26th Dec 2015
    I agree, worst airline I've ever flown with!
    26th Dec 2015
    Sounds a bit like an award given to a member of 'the club' to me.
    We have never flown Etihad but our experience with some foreign carriers leave a lot to be desired and we have tried a few. Whilst Virgin has poor legroom and rock hard seats in their Boeing 777's and whilst I had a run-in with a Qantas steward who should not have been in the industry flying with Aussie carriers has generally been good.
    We do need to support our own, all other things being equal. Now that Qantas has dropped its sky high prices and offers travellers it's wonderful A380 Airbus (heaps of legroom and comfortable seats!) why would you want to fly with any of the other predator airlines who have been allowed to enter our market to destroy the local carriers?
    We won't be getting onto an Etihad flight any time soon no matter how many feel good advertisements they put out.
    26th Dec 2015
    Must be a long time since you flew on a Qantas A380. Definitely no legroom and comfy seats last time I flew on one. It was a bloody awful flight.

    Qantas only has 31 inch pitch in economy on its A380 planes. Compare that to 32 inches on Singapore, and even lowly el cheapo Air Asia X, which is all I can get on my budget, has 32 Inches. Service may be poor on Air Asia X, but I can tell you that their flight attendants are far more cheerful, and do not have that superior arrogance of Qantas staff.

    As for Etihad, I had one flight on that disgusting airline, and my thoughts about it are not printable I am sorry to say.
    26th Dec 2015
    A major disincentive to flying Etihad is the super long transfer times in Abu Dhabi. It can make the trip to London (long enough already) well over 36 hours. Fine if you were planning a stopover anyway but otherwise a major road block for me. Its also a problem with the code share with Qantas. Having severed the tie with BA, you are now forced to go through the Middle East with the attendant transit times. I went to the UK twice this year within a month and both times flew BA/Singapore. I had absolutely no issues on any of the flights and stopover was less than an hour on all 4 flights meaning travel times was 24 hours each way.
    26th Dec 2015
    We flew Etihad Business Class to Europe a few years ago – we had the worst flight ever and will never fly Etihad again! Firstly we booked well in advance and selected our seating at the time of booking – when we got on the plain we were given completely different seats that had an isle way between them, the attendant was rude and did not care in the least – we were simply told there were no other seats available! The trolley and staff continually ‘bumped’ our seats through the night as there was a bend in the thoroughfare! We were not given a choice for breakfast simply given the meal (which as economy class food at best). We complained to Etihad several times after the flight and were simply told that it was too bad – ‘they will improve their processes in future’ (that really helped us didn’t it). Well never fly with this airline again.
    26th Dec 2015
    I now fly with airlines other than Qantas as I have found better recognition of me as a customer, better service and better value for money. After 30+ years of loyal flying with the Australian icon, I have found that it has lost sight of it's everyday customers, ie holiday & retiree travellers. It has now moved to focus on high end flyers & business/corporate contracts with exclusive levels of lounges, wine club and credit card, (like most airlines?). I have found that Qantas can easily match the complaints against Etihad re seats, legroom, crew attitude, which all play their part on the day/tier of travel. However, if you want loyalty (to Qantas?), an airline must meet expectations and treat the middle seat passenger at the rear as just as important as an up front 'tier' traveller. Exclusive passenger tiers, a wine club and credit card, with a matching level of deteriorating service and respect will not engender my loyalty to it.
    26th Dec 2015
    i flew with emirates a few years ago from Melbourne to Athens stopping over at Singapore and Dubai we could not fault this exceptional airline could not fault anything the service was second to none the food we could not fault i have been around most parts of the world if i go on a long overseas trip there is only 1 airline to consider emirates i have flown international with Qantas never again they are as bad as tiger have flown a few times to Bali with garuda they were better than any other airline going to Bali
    26th Dec 2015
    We also flew with Emirates recently from Brisbane to Newcastle in England. The flight, connecting flights were brilliant, service was amazing, nothing was too much trouble for the staff we wouldn't fly with anyone else internationally, our family's all fly Emirates too.
    27th Dec 2015
    You appear to be confusing Etihad Airline which comes from Abu Dhabi with Emirates Airline which is based in Dubai (two completely different airlines) Etihad is a crap airline, unlike Emirates!!!!!
    26th Dec 2015
    I have not even given Etihad a though. Recently went to UK on the Emirates A380, best I have used. One complaint is the Codeshare with QANTAS, to save problems suggest you do not book with Qantas as 9 out of 10 you will be on Emirates anyway. You cannot pick your seats prior on Qantas, as you will be charged, Emirates apart from the extra leg room seats is free. I could not book in online either because of the Codeshare arrangement, as I had booked Qantas on the forward trip.

    26th Dec 2015
    We flew Etihad to Dublin but as we are retired, we took a stopover to break the trip. We do a lot of travelling and I must say that there was very little difference in the conditions we normally experience. What I found interesting was the reading of a passage from the Koran just prior to take-off and I thought that it would be nice if Australians could learn a lesson from that. Our Airline; our rules! Could the same be applied when our religious holidays come around? Our Country; our rules perhaps.
    28th Dec 2015
    No reading from the Koran on the once only, never to be repeated, bloody awful flight I took on Etihad.

    No-one would have listened anyway, all the Arabic people on the plane were too busy talking and texting on their mobiles as we were taking off. Staff told them to turn off mobiles, but not one person did.
    27th Dec 2015
    One of them Etihad TWILIGHT ZONE the's still 2015
    27th Dec 2015
    Would like to some some views from people of Jewish origin taken into account by the people who hand out these ''awards''
    27th Dec 2015
    My husband and I flew with Ethiad a couple of years ago. Found their service not very good, with them only offering a drink once on a long haul flight and the flight attendants banging and crashing drawers late at night. Have flown Singapore airlines earlier this year and found them to be exemplary and will fly with them again next year.
    28th Dec 2015
    +1 for Singapore.

    They are the best without doubt, and always win in the "genuine" awards for best airline.
    27th Dec 2015
    My husband & I flew Etihad business class Sydney to Abu Dhabi the staff member was so unpleasant & made us feel like he was doing us a favour. The semi round lie flat seats were narrow & uncomfortable, we were not sitting together as these seats were down a narrow isle so you were knocked every time some one walked passed & I was unable to have a conversation with my husband during the flight as we were unable to sit together in this configuration.
    We later flew onto Germany with their alliance partner. This was an older plane with great straight flat seats & such lovely staff. The difference was amazing.
    We returned to Australia a year later business class with yet another airline which was wonderful. We would never fly Etihad again, with their rude off-handed staff & terrible seats.
    28th Dec 2015
    In view of the fact that most of the following comments have been very negative regarding Etihad's service, it would be good to think that both Etihad and ATW are made aware of same and question whether the award is justified. The pity is that Qantas will have suffered as a consequence of their share agreement with Etihad. I no longer book with Qantas through fear of being flown by Etihad.
    28th Dec 2015
    Qantas DOES NOT share with Etihad, Virgin Australia does.

    Qantas has a code share agreement with Emirates.

    Pays to check if you aren't sure of your facts.
    Gee Whiz
    28th Dec 2015
    I noticed the award was based purely on Etihad business practices and procedures and had nothing to do with customer service and satisfaction.

    Customers should have been surveyed to get their opinions. My vote would have gone to the airline who provided the most leg room and restricted the movement of the seat in front of you coming back to hit you in the face.

    There has never been a better description of flying "coach" on airplanes than travelling "cattle class".
    28th Dec 2015
    American's call it "coach".

    In Australia we use the term Economy.
    Gee Whiz
    28th Dec 2015
    Coach, economy it really doesn't matter. Its all crap and displays the utter contempt airlines have for those customers who can't afford business or first class, despite the fact "cattle class" make up the bulk of the passengers.
    30th Dec 2015
    1:44pm If you have a look at this site you will see that Etihad won almost everything in their area category. Just look at the "Australasian" region. New Zealand wins everything in that area! I prefer to take the advice of 'real' people who have traveled with them! Thanks YLC readers!

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