Etihad to move into airport office

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has announced its first contact centre in Europe will be located in the Voyager office building at Manchester Airport.

The new 22,948 sq ft centre at the Voyager building, owned by MAG Developments, is expected to be operational next year and covers two floors each comprising 11,474 sq ft.

The fit-out of the new centre is currently underway and it will operate in addition to Etihad's existing call centres in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, India and Australia. The new call centre, located next to Manchester Airport's rail station where a new Metrolink tramline is also under construction, is expected to employ around 160 people.

James Hogan, Etihad chief executive officer, said: "In terms of its proximity to transport links and its position at the centre of Manchester's aviation industry, the Voyager building is the perfect location in which to base our European contact centre.

"We looked closely at a range of alternatives, but the Voyager building proved the best choice. We are excited about commencing operations from the centre as soon as possible and deepening our already strong ties to the city of Manchester."

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG Developments, added: "Since Manchester was selected in March ahead of several other top European cities, we have worked very closely with Etihad Airways to finalise a deal to situate the new centre at Manchester Airport and we look forward to furthering this partnership as they continue to grow their presence in the UK and investment in the region.

"Etihad is a major global business and this deal demonstrates the type of high-quality international organisation that we are confident of attracting to Manchester with our Airport City proposition, which we believe will become one of Europe's most accessible and attractive commercial locations."

In November last year, the airline opened a first and business class lounge at Manchester Airport.

In March, Etihad doubled flight frequencies from Manchester to Abu Dhabi from seven to 14 a week, and in August the airline opened a line maintenance facility at the airport.

Last month, Etihad announced a comprehensive ten year sponsorship deal with Manchester City Football Club, including the naming rights of the club's stadium.

Etihad call centres receive about 2.5 million calls a year. It is expected more than half of calls will originate from non-Arabic speaking markets by 2012.

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