Etihad Airways recently relaunched regular scheduled flights between Melbourne and Sydney to London Heathrow, via Abu Dhabi, to maintain these vital links between Australia and the UK until it is able to resume its full operation to pre-coronavirus levels.

In this abridged exclusive Q&A, Sarah Built, Etihad Airways’ General Manager – Australia and New Zealand, discusses with LATTE how the carrier has responded to the coronavirus pandemic, details what is happening with its grounded fleet and explains a newly expanded health and hygiene program that builds on measures already put in place.

Q: How is Etihad Airways positioned during this uncertain time?
A: These certainly are unprecedented times and unprecedented decisions are being made, but we stand with our loyal customers and dedicate all our efforts and resources to ensuring we do all we can to assist them with their travel planning during this challenging period. We are utilising this time to ensure the airline is in the best shape for when it returns to flying. We’ve embarked on the biggest aircraft maintenance program in our history. We can reassure you that when this pandemic is over, Etihad will still be standing, our aircraft will still be in the skies and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers.

Q: What is happening with Etihad Airways’ aircraft fleet during this period?
A: While so many aircraft are on the ground we are using the ‘downtime’ as an opportunity to accelerate maintenance activities and enhance preparedness as more return to services are introduced. We are refreshing the interiors and exteriors of our aircraft, from laundering of all seat covers, curtains and shampooing or replacement of carpets to minor repairs, as required, to fittings, including seats, inflight entertainment units, fold-down trays, lavatory fittings and galleys.

Q: What health and safety precautions is Etihad taking as it looks to return to meaningful passenger flying?
A: We have just introduced ‘Etihad Wellness’, an expanded health and hygiene program that builds on the stringent measures already put in place to deal with COVID-19. Specially trained Wellness Ambassadors, a first in the industry, will provide essential travel health information and care spanning culinary hygiene, aircraft cabin deep-cleaning, health screening, boarding, inflight experience and more, so guests can fly with greater peace of mind.

To read LATTE’s detailed 10 question interview covering other topics such as post-COVID airfares and scheduled routes, click here.

Source: Latte