Is Etihad Still One Of The Best Airlines Worldwide?

The United Arab Emirates is slowly becoming the mark of perfection and a standard for fast paced progress in every field whether it be on land or high up above in the skies. However, Etihad Airways was awarded 29th place by Skytrax on the list of the world's best airlines - as a carrier known for having one of the best products globally, what went wrong?

Photo by AeroNewsX/Paul Schmid

Etihad Airways proudly carries the flag of the nation above horizons like a rising sun with promises of new and better days ahead. With a fleet of 113 aircraft and 75 destinations not to mention it being a major operator of the Airbus A380, Etihad sure knows how to let the world recognize the true essence of being a flag carrier for a country that is determined to leave permanent marks of perfection on the map of the world.

With that said, it is evident that Etihad leaves behind no space for error and is always working hard to bring about positive changes to its product. But in a world where the aviation industry is changing rapidly and bargains are getting riskier, Etihad might have taken a few flights in the bad weather and ended up landing in an unexpected puddle of losses.

The Losses

In recent years, Etihad have begun reporting losses over US$3 billion dollars. This loss brought with it many changes, the more significant of which being cancellations of millions worth of Airbus and Boeing orders.

Photo by AeroNewsX/Anwar Hasanin

In February 2019, Etihad Airways announced order cancellations for 19 Boeing 777Xs, 2 Airbus A350-1000s and all the Airbus A350-900s on order, totaling 42 aircraft.

Financial losses have also forced the carrier to cancel its flights to Perth as well as flights to Edinburgh, San Francisco and Dallas.

Alongside these major changes, a minor change has also occurred in Economy class wherein the carrier has started to charge for drinks and snacks that are outside scheduled meal services.

Skytrax & Etihad's 29th Place

Skytrax is a United Kingdom-based consultancy which runs an airline and airport review and ranking site.

However in recent years Skytrax has been criticized for its ratings, especially with regards to Etihad and other high-class carriers.

In 2019 Etihad's ranking was downgraded all the way to 29th place after being ranked 15th best airline of 2018.

Skytrax reasoned this rating with Etihad's finiancial losses which started quite an interesting debate among the world's industry professionals and enthusiasts; since when do losses define service?

When comparing Etihad Airways' 29th spot as a result of its huge losses, what about carriers such as Lufthansa and the Air France-KLM Group? The German flag carrier posted a 336 million loss during the first quarter of 2019 while the Air France-KLM Group reported losses of 303 million out of which of 256 million was down to Air France, during the same time period.

Etihad Airways' Product & Service

Etihad is a flag carrier of a progressing nation, and is known for its extraordinary first class & business class services and product.

Photo by AeroNewsX/Chris de Breun

The Etihad First Class 'Apartment', as it's known, on their Airbus A380s, comes in a 1-1 configuration. The Etihad Residence include two comfortable seats and a room which has a flat bed and a water closet. A lobby is located between First Class and Business Class. The lounge includes a bar and sitting area for first and business class passengers.

Etihad First Class Apartments are ranked the 4th best worldwide, after Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Air France. When comparing Etihad Airways' First Class Apartments to Lufthansa and Air France's products, it is evident that Etihad's First Class Apartments are significantly better, according to many airline professionals and the general public. Etihad's First Class Apartments give complete privacy to its passengers, a great IFE and complimentary showers.

Etihad's Business class comes in 1-2-1 configuration on board their A380, A330, B777 and B787 Dreamliners. Business Class passengers are provided with amenity kits on their flights as well as a great IFE and a comfortable seat which can turn into a flat bed. Etihad are ranked with the 8th Best Business Class product.

With Etihad's First class and Business classes being the epitome of luxury, it was still ranked lower than some low cost airlines - a ranking and a rating still in need of explanation. The popular opinion that Etihad deserved a better ranking echoes, with nothing resonating in return from Skytrax.

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