Tuesday 27 November 2012

Interview with the General Manager of Etihad Airways, Mr Maurice Phohleli .

Sky Watch Nigeria.
By Lateef Lawal.

What defines Etihad Airways and makes it different from other airlines?

Since its launch in 2003, Etihad Airways has grown faster than any other full-service airline in commercial aviation history. Today the airline employs over 10,000 staff and operates a fleet of 67 aircraft that fly to 85 passenger and cargo destinations in 56 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.

At the same time, we have created a brand and a service offering that is the envy of the industry. Built on the mandate from our shareholder to be ‘best in class’, we have worked from the ground up in redefining industry standards in customer service, drawing inspiration from the very best five-star hospitality organisations around the world.

Our holistic approach to quality and service is designed to ensure that every customer enjoys an inspirational experience at every touch point, from booking their ticket through to their arrival at their final destination.

This approach has proved highly successful. As a result, we have received widespread recognition from our peers within the aviation industry and amongst the public, as one of the world’s leading airlines.

A point further reinforced by the countless awards and recognition the airline has received, including the title of World’s Leading Airline, at the WorldTravel Awards, which it has won consecutively for the past three years.

Why do you consider Nigeria a good market for Etihad Airways?

Nigeria is a particularly important market for Etihad Airways in many ways. As the national airline of the UAE, we appreciate the strong commercial and business interests between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates, which is showing impressive growth and is now stronger than ever.
A significant portion of the business community in Nigeria, which has the largest population in Africa and the seventh largest in the world, is made up of traders who regularly travel to markets in the UAE, the Indian subcontinent and Asia to source products and wares which they import back into Nigeria.

Government delegations frequently visit Asia for training courses and investment road shows and people who are studying in the UAE, Malaysia and India also benefit greatly from our route network and well timed schedules.

With the strategic location of its hub in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and with a route network of 85 passenger and cargo destinations, many of which are based in North Asia and the Indian subcontinent, we are ideally positioned to support the growing demand for business and leisure travel between Lagos and many of the world’s popular and emerging destinations.

What offerings are you bringing to Nigeria that makes you feel you can survive competition?

Etihad Airways is committed to providing its passengers with an outstanding travel experience, with the delivery of quality products and services both on the ground and in the air.
Passengers can save time by checking in online up to 24 hours before departure by visiting our website, www.etihad.com, where they can choose their preferred seats and print their own boarding pass to present upon arrival at the check-in desk at the airport.
We also offer a complimentary chauffeur limousine service to our Pearl Business Class passengers at 28 destinations in 16 countries across our network, and in the UAE, our Coral Economy Class passengers can enjoy complimentary luxury coach transportation between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai or Al Ain.

Dining is an inspiring experience and our Pearl Business Class passengers may dine when they wish, choosing from extensive ‘à la carte’ or “Kitchen Anytime” menus.

Food and Beverage Managers, hired from leading establishments worldwide, are available to help guests select the right dish and the perfect accompaniment to suit their mood.

New culinary menus introduced every two months ensure that our regular passengers can enjoy alternative options on a regular basis.

Each in-flight menu is tailored to the route, typically including at least one dish inspired by the destination, one “Taste of Arabia” dish and one Western option.

The inspired service in Coral Economy Class includes a choice of three main meal options on longer flights, and hot and cold ‘Café’ services with a wide range of hot beverages from cappuccino to green tea on select flights.

To keep everyone entertained, the on-demand entertainment systems are available in a wide choice of languages, providing passengers with over 600 hours of movies, TV shows, music and interactive games, including a dedicated interface and programs for children.
With power points located at every seat, passengers can also recharge their laptops or mobile phone and connect personal devices to the system. Noise-cancelling headsets are also provided in all cabins.

Etihad Airways is also establishing full mobile connectivity aboard its aircraft and rollout will be completed across the fleet by mid-2014. Passengers will be able to use their mobile phones and smart-phones to send and receive calls, messages and emails and access Wi-Fi Internet through their personal devices.

Finally we have the airline’s award-winning loyalty program Etihad Guest, which enables members to accumulate Etihad Guest Miles on flights with Etihad Airways, as well as many of its global airline partners, and redeem them against flights and more than 3,800 non-flight rewards from over 250 partners on the Etihad Guest online Reward Shop.

Etihad Guest Miles can also convert to make cash payments at more than 30 million retail outlets worldwide with PointsPay - an unmatched loyalty proposition.

What has your experience been in the short while you have operated in Nigeria?

Etihad Airways started operations in Nigeria in July 2012 to a very positive reception.
Our passenger loads are strong and we are confident that this new route will continue to prove popular in servicing the considerable and growing flow of business and leisure travellers between Nigeria and key commercial and tourism destinations in the Middle East, North America, North Asia, and China.

How many Nigerians have you employed?

We currently employ 22 Nigerian members of staff who are involved in various activities across our local operation in Lagos. I am very happy with the team we have here and obviously will look to employ more people as our business continues to expand in Nigeria.

SOURCE: NigerianAviationNews.


Post a Comment