In a bid to boost its reach to families, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has announced the launch of ‘Flying Nanny’, an in-flight child care assistance programme on long haul flights.
Under the programme, the flight crew will include trained nannies, who will provide support to families and unaccompanied minors during long duration flights.
“The Flying Nanny will liaise with parents and use their experience and knowledge to make the travel experience easier,” said Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad Airways’ vice president of Guest Services.
“This includes helping serve children’s meals early in the flight and offering activities and challenges to help entertain and occupy younger guests.”
Around 300 Etihad Airways cabin crew members have completed training for the role while a further 60 will be trained in September. Around 500 nannies will begin working across Etihad Airways flights by the end of this year.
The nannies will be trained by the Norland College with special focus on subjects like child psychology and sociology. This will enable them to gauge the needs of travelling families and help them in identifying different types of behaviour and development stages that children go through, the Abu Dhabi carrier said.
“Flying with a young family can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced travellers, and the Flying Nanny role demonstrates our understanding of our guests’ needs and our commitment to making the journey as relaxing and comfortable as possible,” said Tiedt.
Etihad has been on an aggressive expansion drive this year by acquiring stakes in many international airlines and increasing services to major cities across the world.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier recently announced a major revamp of its Australian operations including new aircraft, new routes, additional flights and new airport facilities.
As part of the overhaul, the airline plans to introduce the jumbo Airbus A380 aircraft on its Sydney and Melbourne routes and launch nonstop flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi. Etihad will also operate additional flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Abu Dhabi.
The airline also confirmed plans to increase its equity stake in Virgin Australia following the purchase of a 49 per cent stake in Serbia’s national airline, JAT. Etihad is also awaiting final approval to acquire a 24 per cent stake in India’s Jet Airways for $379 million.
The carrier reported $1.8 billion in passenger revenue in the first half of 2013, up 13 per cent compared to the same period in 2012.