Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has been named the airline with the world’s Best First Class in Syntax’s annual World Airline Awards, as well as #6 in the Airline of the Year overall category.

This is the second year running for both honors for the Abu Dhabi-based carrier. Etihad was also recognized for the Best First Class Onboard Catering for its signature “Inspired Service” culinary program.

Results of the latest Skytrax World Airline Survey, regarded as one of the leading rankings and benchmarks in the industry, were released at the Paris Air Show.

During the 10-month survey period, 18.8 million air travelers from more than 100 countries shared feedback on all aspects of their travel experience, via email, on-line interviews, questionnaires and phone interviews. They voted on their experiences on the ground, at the airport and onboard, as well as the quality of customer service delivered by each of the airline’s staff.

Edward Plaisted, Syntax’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Etihad Airways continues to be a key player in the First Class market and to regain both awards for World’s Best First Class and Best First Class Catering is a tribute to the quality of product available to passengers flying at the front of their aircraft.”

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said: “This is yet another wonderful recognition of how well our product strategy and service philosophy work for our customers and to win this award in successive years reinforces our ongoing commitment to excellence. It’s great to see investments paying back and leading us to success in attracting the premium travel market.”

Each of Etihad’s Diamond First Class suites is 82 inches long with Arabic-styled sliding privacy doors, fully flat bed upholstered in Poltrona Frau leather, in-seat massager, lumbar support and adjustable headrest, 23-inch personal TV/video screen, personal mini bar, designer amenity kit, illuminated wardrobe with personal mirror and in-seat power sockets for PCs, iPod connector, USB ports, Ethernet port and audio jack. The First Class cabin also boasts a luxury changing room with full length mirror, raised wash basin and leather fold-down seat.

“We will also soon be introducing internationally acclaimed onboard chefs dedicated to food service excellence in our First Class cabin, enabling us to offer a five-star, restaurant-style service in the sky. This is just another example of our commitment to product innovation,” Mr. Baumgartner said.

“In the last two years, we have completely revamped both our Diamond First and Pearl Business Class cabins and have won numerous awards for both. We also have some very exciting plans for Coral Economy passengers which will be unveiled in the coming months.”