Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been named the world's leading airlines at the World Travel Awards for the third year in a row.
At a gala event held in Doha, Qatar, judges also presented Etihad Airways with awards for the World's Leading First Class and World's Leading Airline to the Middle East.
The World Travel Awards -- described as the "Oscars of the travel industry" by the Wall Street Journal -- recognise the best airline, hospitality and tourism brands in the world. Judges look for excellence in categories like customer relations, creativity, quality of service, product innovation and business acumen.
The three awards capped a successful year for the airline, which included the launch of seven new international routes, a move into operating profitability and the purchase of a 29 percent stake in airberlin, Germany's second largest airline, in a landmark deal that would enable access to 33 million new passengers in Europe.
"We are delighted to have been named World's Leading Airline at the World Travel Awards for the third successive year," said James Hogan, Etihad Airways president and chief executive officer.
"2011 was a fantastic year for Etihad Airways, during which we began to reap the full benefits of financial and operational strategies developed over the last five years," he said.
"Nothing is as important to us as our guests and we work tirelessly to ensure their experience with Etihad Airways surpasses expectations," he added.
Hogan said thye airlines would soon introduce state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment systems as well as mobile and internet connectivity in the sky.