Etihad have just made a rather terse announcement saying that they want nothing more to do with Skytrax adding that they came to a decision after a review of the criteria and measurements of the Skytrax system.
We are certainly no fans of Skytrax or many of the other organisations who bestow Stars or “World’s Best” accolades on airlines and hotels. The Advertising Standards Authority gave a fairly strong verdict on Skytrax when it upheld a number of complaints against the company one of which was its inability to justify the number of reviews they claimed were made in the awarding process.
It is unlikely that Etihad are the only airline to have stopped doing business with the consultancy that runs the Skytrax system but none of the others have made public announcements about the fact so why did Etihad feel the need to make a statement?
Global travel awards seem to have particular appeal for airlines and hotels operating in the Gulf and other rapidly developing countries. They crave all the worldwide attention they can get and, it has to be said that some of the companies that dish out the rewards have done very nicely from the business of advising their publicity-hungry clients.
Maybe Etihad feel that they are now more mature as a company and do not need to pay consultancy fees and play games but there could be another reason.
Etihad are not the first company to have some questions about Skytrax but by making their doubts public they might be making a sly dig at local competitors who make such a play about being a Skytrax 5 Star airline or airline of the year.
Which airline is constantly boasting of its Skytrax 5 Star status? Which country has fallen out quite spectacularly with its local Arab neighbours? Which country is facing allegations of bribery over the World Cup (more of which came out on the same weekend that Etihad made its announcement)?
Etihad are making a point – with which we have great sympathy – about Skytrax but they also seem to be delivering an expert camel-kick at Qatar Airways and Qatar in general.
We must say that Etihad have suddenly gone up in our estimation so – without any voting or consutancy fees - we would like to say that Etihad are now Inside Traveller’s 5 Star Airline of the month.