Etihad Airways hunts for agency

Etihad Airways, the new Middle Eastern airline based in Abu Dhabi, is talking to agency networks about handling its multi- million pound global advertising and media business.

The airline has recently appointed Ian Ferguson-Brown as its marketing director based in Abu Dhabi. He is a former executive vice-president of Young & Rubicam Worldwide who went on to be a founder of Network One, a non-aligned worldwide network linking independent agencies across 80 countries (MW February 14, 2003).

Networks approached are believed to include WPP. A full pitch has yet to be implemented.

Etihad, backed by the United Arab Emirates government and launched last year, began flying from the UK in March. The airline is rapidly expanding its fleet and destinations. It has ordered $8.1bn (&£4.5bn) worth of new aircraft this year. It plans to have a fleet of 50 aircraft by the end of the decade and hopes to emulate the success of Emirates.

Etihad wants to position its brand as a high-quality flying experience. The company appointed former Savoy Group CRM manager Helen Cahill as UK marketing manager in August and activity so far in the UK includes 40 wrapped taxis (MW August 5).

Ferguson-Brown replaces Richard Bate at Etihad. Bate has been appointed to the new position of head of guest relations.

The review is being run out of Abu Dhabi.

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