Etihad call centre to serve growing non-Arabic market

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will open a new customer service call centre in Manchester employing up to 160 people in 2012.

The new contact centre will complement existing offices in Abu Dhabi, India and Australia. Etihad is currently working with Manchester Airports Group to identify a suitable location on the airport campus for the centre.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways' chief executive, said: "Our contact centres handle around 2.5 million calls each year, and we expect more than half of these calls to originate from non-Arabic speaking markets by 2012.

"As our network continues to grow, it is increasingly important for us to provide high quality, multilingual assistance for customers who choose to book directly with the airline.

"We looked closely at a range of potential locations in the United Kingdom and Europe, and undertook extensive research to find the location that offered us a population base with the right mix of languages and skill sets, as well as a high quality of telecommunications infrastructure.

"Manchester offered everything we needed, and had the added attraction of having strong, well-established business links with Abu Dhabi – a relationship we look forward to developing further."

Etihad has operated a Manchester-Abu Dhabi service since March 2006 and recently announced an increased frequency to double-daily from 1 August 1.

Etihad's commitment to Manchester also includes the opening of an Etihad premium lounge at Manchester Airport in December 2010 and the shirt sponsorship of Manchester City FC.

Etihad was advised by Midas, the inward investment agency for Greater Manchester, and Manchester City Council.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "I'm very grateful for the confidence Etihad is showing in Manchester, a demonstration that we really are leaders in this field and can provide a level of service which is second-to-none. It also shows that Manchester continues to be an attractive investment location for global business."

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