by John O'Ceallaigh and Luxury Travel Editor, The Telegraph, July 26, 2018
It’s a common sight outside Harrods each July and August: a line of Lamborghinis, flurry of Ferraris or some other assortment of supercars all jostling for space on the clogged streets of Knightsbridge. While they’ll never manage to perform at peak capacity in the centre of such a congested city, these extravagant automobiles are now such a summer staple in London that they could perhaps be listed as seasonal tourist attractions alongside the Proms and Wimbledon.
Registration plates make it clear that many of these cars are from the Middle East so their owners will presumably be happy to learn that Abu Dhabi’s national carrier Etihad has now launched a new service to make the conveyance of supercars somewhat easier. Developed by Etihad Cargo, the airline’s cargo and logistics division, FlightValet is a new product designed specifically to facilitate the transit of exceptionally valuable motor vehicles.
While Etihad already transports hundreds of high-value vehicles on its aircraft annually, FlightValet streamlines the procedure so owners can have their cars delivered immediately and with greater ease. Staff are specially trained for the service and customers will have a single sales point of contact in the United Arab Emirates.
In addition to individual travellers who want to take their car with them on holiday, Etihad expects to attract customers keen to drive their car around prestigious race tracks such as Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, which has hosted the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009.
The service is also likely to prove popular with car dealers and manufacturers keen to move valuable vehicles around the globe rapidly. Given its proximity to many of Italy’s supercar manufacturers, Milan Malpensa Airport is expected to be a popular FlightValet hub.
The inauguration of FlightValet is the latest Etihad service designed to cater to the world’s wealthiest travellers. To coincide with the launch last year of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the airline introduced its FlyCulture service, which transports valuable artworks and musical instruments securely.
The airline also attracted global attention when in 2014 it launched The Residence. Found in the carrier’s Airbus A380 aircraft, the three-room suite features a bedroom, WC and shower unit, and lounge area. Its two guests are cared for by a Savoy Academy-trained butler and enjoy a host of additional privileges before and after their flight.
The airline in 2016 also unveiled what is now regarded as one of the world’s best first-class airline lounges at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal 3. Inspired by the world’s best hotels rather than pre-existing airport facilities, it features a gym area, spa and beauty salon with barbers station, cigar lounge and creche. The most enticing area of all is an additional lounge reserved exclusively for the use of Residence guests and featuring a library, dining area and butler service again provided by staff trained at the Savoy Academy.
This article was written by John O'Ceallaigh and Luxury Travel Editor from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].