PO Box 35566, Head Office, Khalifa City A,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, yesterday opened its Manchester guest contact centre with a reception for government officials and local business leaders.
Based at the Voyager Building at Manchester Airport, the guest contact centre is the airline's first in Europe and fourth in the world. It will operate in conjunction with existing guest contact centres in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and India.
The guest contact centre will provide full time employment for 160 local people, all of whom will receive extensive training in all aspects of the company's global reservations system.
Manchester was chosen as the location for Etihad Airways' first European guest contact centre after extensive research showed the city's population offered the optimal mix of languages and skill sets. Manchester's telecommunications infrastructure also put it ahead of rival cities.
Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said: "The opening of the Etihad Airways Manchester guest contact centre further demonstrates Etihad Airways' commitment to the north of England.
"We are delighted to be able to provide further employment opportunities for the people of Manchester while at the same time ensuring we are ideally positioned to meet the needs of passengers throughout Europe for the foreseeable future.
"We very much look forward to strengthening our already close ties to the city of Manchester over the coming years."
School leaver Ryan Al Hakim, 18, who has completed a month long training course to work at the guest contact centre as a sales agent, said: "Having a job in the current economic climate makes me feel proud that I have skills that are valued in a tough market. It means I can stand on my own two feet and not rely on others to carry me."
Guest contact centre agent John Byrom, 18, said: "This job means so much to me. So many people today are unemployed and I feel lucky to walk out of college and into full time employment. I have always wanted to work in the aviation industry."
Etihad Airways began operating daily flights from its base in Abu Dhabi to Manchester in March, 2006. In November 2010, the airline opened a state of the art premium lounge at Manchester Airport.
In July 2011, Etihad Airways announced a comprehensive 10 year sponsorship deal with Manchester City Football Club.
In August 2011, Etihad Airways doubled flight frequencies to Manchester to 14 a week and opened a line maintenance facility at the airport.