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Etihad Airways’ Head of Social Media, Elizabeth Selby (second from left), and Etihad Airways’ Senior Manager Social Media, Marvin Burton (centre), receive the Best Emerging Airline on Social Media Award from SimpliFlying’s CEO, Shashank Nigam (first from left), at the SimpliFlying Awards for Excellence in Social Media.

Etihad Airways Social Media Success

• Wins Best Emerging Airline on Social Media Award at the SimpliFlying Awards
• Named ‘Most Influential Brand in the UAE’ on LinkedIn
• Reaches historic milestone of one million Facebook fans globally
• Launches new Pinterest brand account

Etihad Airways is celebrating social media success after being named winner of the Best Emerging Airline on Social Media Award at the SimpliFlying Awards 2014, and for having reached one million Facebook fans globally.

The SimpliFlying Awards recognise the best social media campaigns and practices in the aviation industry. The winners were announced at a glittering ceremony during the Travel Distribution Summit North America in New York this week, attended by more than 400 travel and hospitality executives.

A rigorous process of public voting and an expert panel of judges selected the UAE flag carrier as winner of the Best Emerging Airline on Social Media Award, in recognition of the airline’s sophisticated strategy, engaging content, targeted promotions and campaigns, and focused community management over the past 12 months.

Etihad Airways undertook various initiatives on its social networking pages to engage fans and build a stronger bond with them, alongside generating revenue for the airline. The pages provide real-time news updates about the brand, sponsorships, route additions, products and services, special offers and brand-engaging games.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Social media channels have become a vital part of our broader digital and communications activity. This award further inspires us to be pioneers in the global travel industry in terms of recognising and harnessing the power of social media, and telling the Etihad Airways story in innovative ways.”

Shashank Nigam, SimpliFlying’s CEO, said: “Etihad Airways has adopted a methodological approach to social media marketing, resulting in a dramatic increase in engagement over the last year, particularly around the launch of their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380 products, which will be taking to the skies in December. The airline came from behind and has taken the competition by storm.”

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, recently revealed Etihad Airways as the most influential brand headquartered in the UAE based on engagement among LinkedIn’s membership of 313 million professionals. The ranking follows a number of successful campaigns the airline ran on the platform, taking its number of followers above 120,000.

Fresh from its social media achievements and recognitions, Etihad Airways has reached the historic milestone of one million fans on its Facebook page and over 100,000 followers on its Twitter account (@EtihadAirways). The airline has witnessed considerable growth in the number of social media users over the past year, more than doubling its Facebook ‘likes’ with an additional 512,000 fans and increasing its Twitter followers by 75 per cent.

In celebration of the achievements, the airline has launched a ‘#OneMillionMoments’ social media promotion in which fans can share photos of their memorable Etihad Airways travel moments using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for the chance to win a pair of Economy Class flight tickets to anywhere on the airline’s flight network. The competition is open until 30 September 2014, after which a panel of judges will choose the best entry. For more information, and to view the full terms and conditions for the promotion, visit Etihad Airways’ Facebook page.

To expand its social media reach further, Etihad Airways has launched a new Pinterest account, which will be used as a destination and inspirational marketing tool. It will allow fans to connect and engage with the airline directly through content on the Pinterest boards, featuring popular destinations across the network, world-class products and services, and exciting travel ideas.

“We are thrilled to launch our new Pinterest account, which will anchor Etihad Airways as a key channel on the internet for travel planning. Pinterest has enormous potential to reach our target market and create brand associations through visually-appealing content,” Mr Baumgartner added.

Pinterest has become increasingly popular, especially among women, with more than 70 million registered users worldwide, of which 40 million are monthly active users. It is considered second only to Facebook in social media in terms of sending referral traffic to websites.

Etihad Airways continues to broaden its social media offerings and plans to develop an official blog and launch new brand accounts in multiple languages. These new endeavours are all part of an enduring effort from Etihad Airways to improve the experience of fans of the airline, who can stay connected with the airline by visiting any of its social media channels:

• Facebook: www.facebook.com/etihad.airways
• Twitter: www.twitter.com/etihadairways
• Instagram: www.instagram.com/etihadairways
• Google+: https://plus.google.com/+etihad
• YouTube: www.youtube.com/etihadairways
• LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/etihadairways
• Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/etihadairways

Photo Caption: Etihad Airways’ Head of Social Media, Elizabeth Selby (second from left), and Etihad Airways’ Senior Manager Social Media, Marvin Burton (centre), receive the Best Emerging Airline on Social Media Award from SimpliFlying’s CEO, Shashank Nigam (first from left), at the SimpliFlying Awards for Excellence in Social Media.

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About Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2013 carried 11.5 million passengers. From its Abu Dhabi base Etihad Airways flies to 108 existing or announced passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of 104 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and more than 200 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777-X, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s. Etihad Airways holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia and Jet Airways, and is in the process of formalising equity investments in Alitalia and Swiss-based Etihad Regional*. For more information, please visit: www.etihad.com

*Operated by Darwin Airline