Etihad says Namastey India with gorgeous Katrina Kaif

Etihad Guest, the award-winning loyalty program of Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has launched a new program called ‘India Connect’, an exclusive club designed to offer a wide range of benefits to Etihad Guest members travelling to and from India. Once registered at www.etihadindiaconnect.com, Etihad Guest members will be able to access a number of exclusive benefits, including travel offers on Etihad Airways Indian routes and discounts and special deals with a variety of partners in India and relevant partners abroad,  including hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, entertainment outlets and community associations with more options soon to be added. The program was launched by Etihad Airways’ new brand ambassador Katrina Kaif.

Recently in a press conference held at Mumbai,  Etihad Airways  announced the signing of internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning actress from India, Katrina Kaif, as the airline’s new brand ambassador. Having won numerous national and international awards, Katrina has greatly contributed to the Indian film industry and is one of India’s most sought-after actresses.

Etihad Airways and Katrina Kaif will work on a series of initiatives to promote the airline across India and around the world, including addressing Indian communities in Etihad Airways’ key markets such as the UAE, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Etihad recently filmed an internet video with Katrina Kaif dancing in the airline’s First class lounge in Abu Dhabi, under the direction of award winning Indian film director and choreographer, Farah Khan. The video, which has been distributed online across youtube and various social networking sites, will be used to promote the partnership between Katrina and Etihad Airways throughout the campaign.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Our partnership with Katrina Kaif will help build Etihad’s brand name globally and further introduce our world-class products and services across India and to Indian communities around the world. Katrina represents the best of Indian cinema. By challenging the industry as a highly talented newcomer, she has successfully reached the top of her field in a very short period of time. These values ideally match Etihad’s own ambition to be the best airline in the world.”

Katrina Kaif, Etihad’s new brand ambassador, said: “Since they first started flying, Etihad Airways has succeeded in becoming one of the biggest names in the airline industry. I have always loved flying with Etihad and I am extremely honoured to work closely with the world’s leading airline. For people like me who are always travelling to and from India, ‘India Connect’ is a perfect travel solution, making it even easier to fly home.”

Andrew Ward is vice president of Marketing for the airline, appointed in September 2009. He is responsible for the airline’s marketing department which includes brand and product marketing.  He manages a team of marketing personnel globally, divided into six geographical regions. Andrew brings with him a wealth of experience in Marketing, with specific expertise in marketing communications and sponsorships. He joined Etihad from the internationally recognized advertising agency, TBWA, where he spent 6 years and held the position of Executive Vice President, based out of London and Abu Dhabi. A graduate of Oxford University, Andrew has had over 25 years’ experience working on international marketing and communications programs in different markets and regions around the world.  His experience includes heading major global marketing communications accounts for blue-chip companies such as Nestle, Coca-Cola, Unilever and Seagram.

Neerja Bhatia has been associated with Etihad Airways for more than three years and brings with her rich and varied aviation experience. She joined Etihad Airways in November 2004 as sales manager for Western India, shortly after the Abu Dhabi-based airline launched its first flights to India – a daily service to Mumbai. She was appointed as manager for western and southern India in December 2005 before becoming the airline’s acting manager for India in the summer of 2007. As acting country manager, she helped oversee the launch of new services to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Prior to joining Etihad, she worked for a year with Galileo India, a leading GDS company where she was the General Manager, Western India, and for 13 years with a leading global airline as a Sales Manager, North India. In Etihad she has played an important and a challenging role in overseeing the airline’s activities across the region, the successful set-up of Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi and in ensuring its continued growth.

About Etihad

In just five years Etihad Airline have flown more than 17 million Guests to more than 50 destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Australia, Europe, North America and Asia.  Our fleet will reach 52 aircraft by the end of 2009. Etihad expects to carry up to seven million Guests by the end of 2009, a remarkable increase on the 340,000 that traveled on us in 2004. By the end of 2009, Etihad will have expanded its global route network to 57 destinations, including new services to Melbourne, Istanbul, Athens, Larnaca, Chicago, Cape Town and Hyderabad.

Highlights

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has in just over six years established itself as the world’s leading airline.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is the airline s hub. Etihad’s fleet of 53 aircraft operates close to 1000 flights per week, serving an international network of 63 destinations in 42 countries.

Etihad has received a range of awards that reflects its position as the leading premium airline brand in the world, including “World’s Leading Airline” at the World Travel Awards in 2009.

Product: Etihad is committed to providing guests with a superior travel experience both in-flight and on the ground. Etihad has recently upgraded a number of its aircraft in the Business Class and Economy Class cabins, and its new First Class suite is expected to be available on all three-class aircraft by the end of 2010. The airline also offers a range of convenient ground services, including chauffer pick-up in 19 destinations globally.

Sustainability: Etihad Airways is fully committed to conducting its business in ways which ensure the responsible management of the effect it has on the environment. Through the adoption of its environmental policy, partnership with the Masdar future energy initiative and its fuel efficient fleet, the airline is focused on abiding by the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Sponsorships: Etihad is proud to support a range of sporting and cultural events in the United Arab Emirates and worldwide. Etihad’s major sponsorships include Etihad.

Stadium, Ferrari Formula 1TM Team, F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Sport Australia Hall of Fame, GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, Harlequins Rugby Football Club and Manchester City Football Club.