Published January 17th, 2007 - 02:46 GMT

Etihad Airways’ second “Swing on the Wing” competition has proved a huge success with European Tour star Henrik Stenson hitting a record long-drive of 721 yards on the runway at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The competition, just one element of Etihad’s innovative sponsorship activities for this week’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championships, saw long-drive world record holder Paul Slater and five amateur golfers join Stenson on the wing of an Etihad Airways aircraft.

Geert W. Boven, EVP Sales and Service, Etihad Airways, said: “It is fantastic news that Henrik hit such a massive drive to win this year’s “Swing on the Wing”. It was a truly awesome spectacle to see the golfers in action on the wing of the Etihad aircraft, and is certain to give Henrik extra impetus as he goes into the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.”

Following the phenomenal success of the 2006 “Swing on the Wing” competition, Etihad expanded the concept by offering amateur club players from across the world the chance to join Ryder Cup star Stenson and Paul Slater on the wing of the A340-500.

Delighted at having taken part in the world-famous challenge, Stenson said: “This was an unbelievable experience. I saw pictures of Ian Poulter and Paul Casey from last year and was thrilled to have the chance to take on Ian’s record. I am just glad I was able to sneak past it. A big thank you to Etihad and all involved, I will never forget this experience.”

During the final competition on the runway the big hitting Swede broke last year’s record by striking the ball a full 721 yards, beating Ian Poulter’s 2006 record by 25 yards.

More than 8,000 amateur players took part in long drive competitions in order to qualify for the final in Abu Dhabi, with the winners coming from Dubai, England, Germany and India.

Rob Atkinson, a club golfer at the Arabian Ranches club in Dubai said: “This has been the experience of a lifetime. Without Etihad Airways I would never have had the opportunity to stand on the wing of a plane, in such a wonderful setting, and drive golf balls into the horizon.”

“To be able to do it alongside Henrik Stenson was also a dream-come-true. I am now looking forward to relaxing and watching the professionals in action at Abu Dhabi Golf Championships.”

As the diamond sponsor and official airline for the 2007 ADGC, Etihad is involved in a series of promotional activities surrounding the tournament as well as flying the players, officials and their equipment to the UAE.

About Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and based in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi. Currently Etihad offers flights to 47 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.


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