Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

IDEAS: How Etihad Airways Pulled Off Its Mission Impossible Skydiving Stunt

6 months ago

Etihad Airways has released a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the filming of its skydiving orchestra.

Credit: Etihad Airways

The original video, which was created as part of the carrier’s partnership with Paramount Pictures to celebrate the premiere of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, saw an orchestra fall from 13,000 feet at 120mph whilst playing the Mission Impossible theme song.

The campaign was released across Etihad Airways’ social media platforms in July, which you can take a look at below:

To complete the stunt, Etihad Airways and their advertising agency Impact BBDO had to ‘do the impossible’ – find talented musicians who are also skilled skydivers.

But following weeks of planning and preparation, custom rigging was created for each instrument to ensure the skydiving orchestra could safely play and pull their parachute when the time came, and a professional skydiving cinematographer jumped with them each time to capture it all.

Each member of the orchestra was tasked with learning their piece of music by heart, which they needed to be able to recite perfectly despite the unconventional conditions.

You can take a look at the behind-the-scenes footage from the Etihad Airways YouTube below:


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Airlines

Etihad Airways Names Former TAP Chief as Its New CEO

1 year ago

Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways has got the former boss of Portugal’s national carrier TAP, Antonoaldo Neves, as its new CEO.

Etihad’s earlier boss Tony Douglas had agreed to join RIA — Saudi Arabia’s newest airline. Earlier reports had suggested that global consulting firm Korn Ferry had been looking to find a replacement for Douglas.

Neves’ appointment news comes a day after reports of the Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs transferring full ownership of Etihad Aviation Group to ADQ, an Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company.

“The transfer complements ADQ’s efforts to realize Abu Dhabi’s vision to strengthen the emirate’s position as a global aviation hub  delivering integrated and competitive aviation services,” a release from the investement company stated on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Etihad Aviation Group’s ancillary businesses were transitioned into ADQ to create a new integrated aviation support services company.

After the privatisation of TAP in 2015, the airline was renationalized during Covid. As a result of the exit of private shareholder David Neeleman, Neves’ stint with the Portugese carrier came to an end in September 2020.

Soon after his exit from TAP, Neves went on to launch a startup — P2D Travel, which Neves himself describes as “a platform to empower anyone to earn money by selling travel on social networks.”

In August 2021 it had been reported that his startup had received an investment from Point Break Capital, which valued the company at over $12.7 million.

Airlines

Etihad CEO Poached by Saudi Arabia’s New Airline: Reports

1 year ago

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas has agreed to join RIA — Saudi Arabia’s newest airline, according to reports.

It had been earlier reported that RIA, the multi-billion-dollar international carrier, had approached Douglas for the top job. Douglas has apparently agreed and other senior Etihad executives may follow him, according to Arabian Business.

Global consulting firm Korn Ferry has been tasked with the job to find a replacement for Douglas, the publication added quoting sources.

The head hunting firm is said to be in preliminary talks with three senior aviation names for the top job at Etihad, even though employment offers haven’t yet been made, according to Bloomberg.   

Douglas has been leading Etihad since 2018. He had also served as the CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports Company and Abu Dhabi Ports Company, prior to which he was the chief operating officer and group chief executive designate of UK’s largest privately-owned construction company Laing O’Rourke.

Under Douglas’ leadership, Etihad had reported a record-breaking core operating profit of $296 million for the first half of 2022, despite fuel costs increasing by almost 60 percent compared to the same period in 2021.

“Etihad is emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever, with a world-class fleet, an unmatched customer proposition and sustainability woven into every fibre of our business,” Douglas had said while announcing the financial results.

As Saudi Arabia pivots from its oil-based economy, the tourism sector has been a strong focus for the country that was closed to tourists till 2019.

The introduction of tourist visas in September 2019, was followed by the introduction of electronic tourist visas this month for residents of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

With an ambitious goal to reach 100 million tourists per year by 2030, the kingdom has been hard working to expanding its international air connectivity. 

Riyadh-based RIA will be the second airline for the kingdom, national carrier Saudia operates from Jeddah. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has reportedly invested $30 billion to get the airline off the ground.