ABU DHABI, -- Etihad Airways has been named The Middle East's Leading Airline at the World Travel Awards Middle East held in Dubai.

The award reflects a decade of dominance, and is one of four awards collected last night by Etihad during a ceremony at The St. Regis Dubai.

The national airline of the UAE also won awards for the Middle East's Leading Airport Lounge for its First Class Lounge and Spa at Abu Dhabi International Airport, and for employing the Middle East's Leading Cabin Crew.

Commenting on these honours, Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, noted, "These awards are about excellence in the travel and tourism industry, and since winning The Middle East's Leading Airline award for the first time in 2006, our journey of excellence has been remarkable.

"This recognition demonstrates a sustained focus on delivering the very best products, services and value through innovation in a competitive marketplace. This would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our staff and business partners, and, of course, the support of guests globally who have chosen to travel with us."

Etihad Airways has grown from 22 aircraft, flying to 43 destinations and supported by 4,369 staff in 2006 - to a fleet of 123 aircraft, serving 117 destinations with nearly 27,000 multi-national staff members today.

Baumgartner added, "It is also a major achievement to win the Middle East's Leading Airport Lounge, following the opening in May of Etihad Airways' First Class Lounge and Spa at Abu Dhabi International Airport. What we now offer is quite simply the best airline hospitality experience in the world."

Source: Emirates News Agency