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Etihad and Royal Jet cap award-winning week with landmark partnership

Etihad and Royal Jet cap award-winning week with landmark partnership

Two of the leading lights of Arabian aviation have entered a partnership to deliver a new premium travel service. Etihad Airways and Royal Jet – both major winners at this week’s World Travel Awards – have agreed to launch “Premium Connect” – a luxury private charter service that will enhance and extend Etihad’s premium portfolio.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at Arabian Travel Market 2011 by Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Airways, and Shane O’Hare, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Jet.

The announcement follows an incredible week for both airlines. Etihad Airways was one of the big stars at the World Travel Awards 2011 Middle East Ceremony on 2 May.

(Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Airways, celebrates the top victory at World Travel Awards 2011 Middle East Ceremony. Also pictured Hareb Al Muhairy, Head of Corporate Communications, Etihad Airways; Graham Cooke, President and Founder, World Travel Awards; and Manon Han, Executive Vice President, World Travel Awards. The glittering gala ceremony was hosted at the Armani Hotel Dubai this week.)

The UAE flag carrier carrier walked off with an impressive four awards, including the blue riband category “Middle East’s Leading Airline”, as well as “Middle East’s Leading Airline First Class”, “Middle East’s Leading Airline Inflight Entertainment” and “Middle East’s Leading Cabin Staff”.

Royal Jet also enjoyed a share of the spoils, picking up the prestigious category “Middle East’s Leading Private Jet Charter 2011” for the third year running. This followed it being voted “World’s Leading Private Jet Charter” at the World Travel Awards 2010 Grand Final in London last November.

(What a week! Shane O’Hare, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Jet, picks up the award for “Middle East’s Leading Private Jet Charter 2011” at World Travel Awards. Also pictured host for the ceremony, Wonho Chung)

Presenting the award, Manon Han, Executive Vice President, World Travel Awards, said: “Under the ground-breaking initiatives of its Chairman Sheikh Hamdan and his hugely-talented team, this brand has revolutionized the private aviation industry. Its core principals of safety, security, privacy and unsurpassed comfort have put it into a class of its very own.”

The “Premium Connect” agreement between the two award-winning carriers will enable guests to access a bespoke and personalised service to single or multiple destinations beyond Etihad’s extensive network. This will make each and every flight unique and customised, explained Baumgartner.

He said: “Premium Connect will consist of a portfolio of carefully selected preferred luxury travel partnerships. If a guest’s journey continues beyond Abu Dhabi, Etihad will be able to offer them a number of onward private travel options through Premium Connect. Royal Jet’s wide-ranging fleet includes some of the most luxurious, sophisticated and technologically-advanced private jets in the world and is an ideal launch partner for this unique travel solution for the discerning traveller.”

(Royal Jet has brought a new level of luxury to the private jet charter market)

Shane O’Hare, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Jet, said: “This service extends Etihad’s world beating premium service through our ability to provide the highest levels of luxury air travel, flexibility, responsiveness, and discretion to today’s sophisticated traveller. This will be achieved through absolute service excellence supported by a diverse product offering and an exceptional team of highly qualified professionals.”

Royal Jet is jointly owned by Abu Dhabi Aviation and the “Presidential Flight Authority” the royal flight service. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Royal Jet is chaired by His Excellency Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, who also serves as Minister in the UAE Federal Cabinet.

(This week’s Etihad victory follows the airline being voted “World’s Leading Airline” for the second year in succession at World Travel Awards)

Royal Jet’s business expansion plans have been created to find the best solutions to address the ever-growing and changing demand in the aviation industry. Its fast-growing fleet of jets includes six Boeing Business Jets, which makes Royal Jet the world’s largest single BBJ operator; two mid-range Gulfstream 300s; a long-range Gulfstream IVSP; a Lear Jet 60 and an Embraer Lineage 1000.

Etihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2010 carried more than seven million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad serves 66 cities in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America (New York, Chicago and Toronto), with a fleet of 57 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and 100 aircraft on order, including 10 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.