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SKYTRAX respond to misleading statement and request to amend World Airline Awards.
Thursday, 17th July 2014
Source : SKYTRAX
In a sparsely worded statement, Etihad Airways said it had decided to withdraw from the Skytrax World Airline Awards and Skytrax Audit;

'The decision was made after Etihad Airways carried out a review of the criteria and measurement of the Skytrax Airline Rating System,' it said.

Skytrax describe Etihad Airways comments as potentially misleading and omitting salient facts that apply to an airline's Star Rating. For a Skytrax audit review where we work in conjunction with the airline, product consistency, planned changes and aircraft fleet information are transparent and key elements of the assessment criteria. When an airline is either unable to, or does not wish to provide information that may potentially influence the Star Rating, Skytrax have no option but to curtail work on such project.

A subsequent statement to media by an Etihad Airways source was labelled as "unidentified, on the grounds they were not cleared to speak about the matter". The statement made by this Etihad Airways 'source' was described by Skytrax as complete nonsense and wholly inaccurate, in light of known facts that Etihad Airways had about ranking criteria. First and business class cabins may generate good profits for an airline, but Skytrax highlight that Star Rating is also focussed carefully on where most customers travel, namely in economy class.

As an independent airline rating organisation following an established code of conduct applied to Airline Rating for the past 25 years, Skytrax professional reputation is paramount, and it is perplexing and disappointing when misleading statements are made without any material support.

Etihad Airways cannot issue a demand to be withdrawn from the World Airline Awards, since these results are directly decided by customers. Skytrax do not exercise control over which airlines are nominated in the Survey ratings, and to subsequently seek to impact the results of a public vote would be unacceptable.

The demand by Etihad Airways to be excluded from the 2014 World Airline Awards remains puzzling, particularly when one considers a statement by Etihad Airways CCO on winning several awards in 2013 that "the Skytrax World Airline Awards represent a global benchmark for airline excellence because they go straight to the source - the traveller."

Edward Plaisted of Skytrax commented: "We assume there is some underlying purpose or agenda behind the statement made by Etihad Airways to which we are not privy. It is their right to make such a decision, but Skytrax carefully respect Confidentiality Agreements we enter into with an airline, and subsequently have a very limited right of public response. I would add that when we do make a comment, we name the source and do not try to hide behind unidentified sources."

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