Etihad’s CEO Takes COVID-19 Vaccine Shot To Demonstrate Confidence

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Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, receiving his first dose of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. Source Etihad

Etihad’s top boss took a COVID-19 vaccine shot to demonstrate confidence, the airline said on Monday, as the first week of 2021 got off to a start.

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Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, seen signing the virtual MoU with Gonen Usishkin, Chief Executive Officer of EL AL Israel Airlines. Source: Etihad

Etihad CEO Gets 1st Dose

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, received his first dose of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine at Etihad Airways Medical Centre.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “As we say goodbye to 2020, I wanted to start the new year by demonstrating my own confidence in Abu Dhabi’s National Vaccination Programme.”

Mr. Douglas added that while it offers the obvious benefit of being safeguarded against COVID-19, it was his way of contributing to a safer workplace and safer Abu Dhabi community.

Borders Continue to Open Up: Etihad CEO

“From an aviation perspective, as borders continue to open up, we hope that through increased vaccination rates, people will feel more confident travelling not only for business and leisure but more importantly, to reconnect with their loved ones around the world,” the Etihad CEO said.

In an effort to protect residents and citizens of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Aviation Group thanks the relevant authorities for their support in making the vaccine accessible to achieve nationwide immunity.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available for free for all Etihad employees and their dependants (over 18 years old) at Etihad Airways Medical Centre.

Meanwhile, as airlines around the world gear up for the New Year with exciting offers and plans, the UAE’s national airline, Etihad Airways, said it was offering travellers complimentary COVID-19 PCR tests.

COVID-19 PCR testing is mandatory before every flight and depending on where you are flying to, your test must be carried out between 48, 72 or 96 hours ahead of your flight departure time.

Etihad Airways’ complimentary COVID-19 test will run until March 31, 2021, and is included with all flights from Abu Dhabi. This excludes flights to China where you will be required to arrange a COVID-19 PCR test at an approved SEHA or G42 clinic.

The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad does not plan to buy or lease smaller aircraft for its charter flight services, a senior airline official confirmed.

The existing 103-aicraft fleet has enough the diversity to more than fulfill the needs of customers. “We are able to leverage our existing fleet of passenger and cargo aircraft – and our regular planning and operations teams – to offer charter solutions as required by our customers,” said Alex Featherstone, Vice President Network Planning and Alliances.

The Gulf News reported that this has provided the airline with a lot of flexibility, as insisted by Featherstone. For instance, the A320s can be used for smaller groups such as sporting teams. (Etihad arranged a last-minute flight for the English Premier League (EPL) team Manchester City to help them continue the Asia pre-season tour after they faced a delay on their initial journey.)

The airline also has jumbo-jets like the Boeing 777, which can fly larger numbers on ultra-long range missions. “We want to be our customers’ airline of choice – in the charter space, as we do with our scheduled flying,” said Featherstone.

Where the charter services – which was formally announced as a business strategy last week – will differ is in the flexibility it can offer Etihad’s clients. Last year, the Abu Dhabi airline completed over 500 charters for a range of customers.

“The increased charter activity that we have seen is certainly a welcome stream of additional business,” said Featherstone. But “we remain highly focused on building our scheduled route network back up in line with the expected improvement in global demand in 2021.