Etihad Airways marked its 15th birthday in style with a Sydney reception at the Powerhouse Museum on Thursday 29 November. VIP guests joined Etihad Airways GM Australia and New Zealand, Sarah Built to toast the airline’s success, past, present and future.
Etihad Airways commenced flying on 5 November 2003, with a single Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which performed a symbolic flight to the emirate of Abu Dhabi’s historic city of Al Ain. Regular commercial flights were launched on 12 November of the same year from Abu Dhabi to the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
Etihad’s inaugural flight to Sydney, Australia, departed on 26 March in 2007 from Abu
Dhabi, seeing Australia become one of the airline’s most important global markets.
The airline now operates a next-generation fleet of over 100 Boeing and Airbus aircraft, flying to 84 passenger and cargo destinations across 55 countries. Since its launch, Etihad has operated over 840,000 passenger flights and has carried 139 million guests, served by a dedicated workforce of over 22,000 talented individuals from over 150 countries.
From the outset, Etihad had “the bold vision to be the best airline in the world”, Built said. Today, the airline’s greatest point of difference is its legendary Arabian hospitality and the level of choice it offers guests, from the one-and-only three-room Residence to award-winning First and Business class cabins and a range of options for Economy passengers. This is embodied by the new brand platform, “Choose Well”. As Built explained, this invites guests to choose what ‘best’ means for them.
Etihad will also have a new home at Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal in 2019/2020, which will welcome 45 million guests per year.
“We are tremendously proud of Etihad’s achievements in just 15 years. In this short time, we have emerged as a highly respected airline brand, known for leading the way through innovation underpinned by Arabian hospitality. Australia is one of our most important markets, and we’re committed to deliver excellence for our local guests.”
Sarah Built, Etihad Airways GM Australia and New Zealand
Also speaking at the event was Jennifer Gaskin, Country Manager, Australia & NZ, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism. Etihad Airways has an Abu Dhabi stopover program, offering one night of premium accommodation for passengers in The Residence/First/Business and two-for-one deals on accommodation and activities for Economy guests.
As well as discovering the emirate’s Bedouin heritage, paying a visit to the world’s largest mosque and riding the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World, visitors can explore beaches and marine life (including dugongs, turtles and dolphins), world-class art at the Louvre Abu Dhabi (with Guggenheim Abu Dhabi coming soon) and go on a wildlife safari on Sir Bani Yas Island.