Etihad Aviation group celebrates UAE youth innovation at inaugural Fikra awards

Press release
Published May 25th, 2017 - 05:24 GMT
Etihad Airways Executive team with Fikra award winners
Etihad Airways Executive team with Fikra award winners

Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) has recognised 11 university students from across the UAE at the inaugural Fikra awards ceremony, held at the company’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

Fikra, which means “idea” in Arabic, was launched in 2016, supporting the UAE government’s drive to encourage innovation among younger generations.

The students were encouraged to think innovatively and harness their entrepreneurial spirit to create ideas that could be implemented in businesses and entities across EAG.

More than 2,600 competition ideas were submitted by students, with 502 reaching the final stages. The final awards were presented for eight proposed ideas from the 11 winning students.

Ray Gammell, Etihad Aviation Group Interim Group CEO, said: “It is critical that we engage and inspire the young people of the UAE and that ethos is at the heart of Fikra, which, in its first year has showcased the incredible talent that exists in this country.

“So much creativity and innovation has been generated through Fikra already and I look forward to seeing how the concepts will evolve in the coming months across Etihad Aviation Group as well as how the competition develops over the next few years.”

The Fikra competition focused on delivering ideas around digital evolution, stopover visits to Abu Dhabi, ancillary sales opportunities, improving loyalty schemes, specialist cargo opportunities, social media, youth engagement, airport experience and the environment.

In addition, there was a special category called ‘Out of the Box’ which allowed students to pitch game-changing ideas. These ideas were in-line with some of the concepts that Etihad Airways has previously introduced, such as The Residence, the airline’s private three-room cabin on the A380 aircraft.

The students’ ideas were judged by members of senior management at EAG and the winning students have been offered an internship at some of the group’s key strategic suppliers, including: BT, Cognizant, SAP, TATA Consultancy Services, Sabre, Stelia Aerospace, Zodiac Aerospace, CAE, B/E Aerospace, Recaro Aircraft Seating and Thales Avionics Inc.

The internships will provide the students with an opportunity to develop themselves and their idea in a professional environment and to experience first-hand how major multinational businesses use and benefit from innovation on a day-to-day basis.

Lamis Abu Ashour, who is studying at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, submitted a winning idea which will enhance the guest experience using existing electronic channels. She will now have a dedicated secondment with Thales Aerospace.

Lamis said: “I have always had a keen interest in aviation and when Fikra was announced I immediately saw an opportunity to show the judges that my ideas could really make a difference. I am excited about my secondment and know this will help me with my future career.”

EAG launched the Fikra last year as part of the UAE’s Innovation Week. Etihad Airways continues to invest significantly in technology and innovation. This investment has transformed its operations and businesses, leveraging technology platforms, digital capability and supplier partnerships.

The winning students are:

Student name

University and degree

Area challenged

Awarded internship

Lamis Abu Ashour (Jordanian)


Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,

Sustainable Critical Infrastructure

Guest Experience

Thales Aerospace Group

Aasya Alshehhi (Emirati)


Ras Al Khaimah  Women's College,

Electronic Engineering

Stopover Visit

Strategic partner

Abdelaziz Alzaabi (Emirati)

Khalifa University of Science, Technology & Research,

MSc Mechanical Engineering

Improving Loyalty

Etihad Airways funded student’s research paper

Abrar Alqaryuti (Jordanian)

Jasmin Elkassih (American)

Mariam Al Agha (Palestinian)

University of Sharjah,

Industrial Engineering

Airport Reimagined


Zodiac Aerospace

SAP SE Software Company

Zeyad Nader (Syrian)

American University of Sharjah,

Mechanical Engineering

Experiencing Digital Evolution

Strategic partner

Kamil Valiullin (Russian)

Nikita Litvak ( Kyrgyzstan)

American University of Sharjah,

Finance / Marketing

Specialist Cargo

Strategic partner

Amani Gharib (Canadian)

Rochester Institute of Technology

Business, Service Leadership

& Innovation

Youth Engagement

Internship at Cognizant Software Development Company  

Fatma Ali (UAE)

Dubai Women's College

Computer Information Science

Airport Reimagined

Strategic partner


Background Information

Etihad Airways

As an airline, Etihad has come a long way in a short time – just like its home Abu Dhabi. 

The airline was established by Royal (Emiri) Decree in July 2003 and is wholly owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi with a mandate to operate safely, commercially and profitably.

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Contact Name
Divya Nagpal

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