The first group of Etihad Airways’ unique inflight butler trainees has departed Abu Dhabi for specialist training at the Savoy Butler Academy in London.The 13 men and women, all inflight chefs or food & beverage managers, were chosen to fulfil the role of butler, which combines the skills of concierge and maître d’hôtel to provide superior service to the guests of The Residence by Etihad.
This three-room cabin featuring a living room, private shower-room and double bedroom is being introduced on Etihad’s fleet of 10 Airbus A380s, the first of which is due for delivery in December this year.
The three-week training programme will be delivered at the University of West London in conjunction with the Savoy Hotel.The syllabus covers all areas essential to catering to the personal tastes of guests staying in The Residence, including international protocol and etiquette, VIP guest care, valet skills, luxury food and wine service standards and organising travel arrangements.
Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Guest Services, said: “We are tremendously proud to be sending our first talented crew members for training at the Savoy Butler Academy in London. This marks their initiation into a very select group of highly trained hospitality professionals, and is testament to Etihad Airways’ aim to be the best and to provide levels of discretion, dedication and sophistication hitherto not experienced by the modern airline traveller.
“We are grateful for the support and enthusiasm we have received from the Savoy Training Academy, which shares our mission to provide something truly exceptional in the air.”
The first two weeks of training will take place at the London School of Hospitality and Tourism, at the University of West London, a leading provider of luxury hospitality management education. The third week will see the butler trainees start their attachment at the Savoy Hotel, where they will shadow the establishment’s own world-renowned butlers as they carry out their duties, allowing them unhindered access and exposure to their training.
On successful completion of the programme and graduation in Abu Dhabi, the first butler will assume duty on the airline’s inaugural Airbus A380 flight to London Heathrow on 27th December 2014.
The second group of Butler trainees is scheduled to start their Savoy Butler Academy training in early 2015.
Patricia Paskins, lecturer at the University of West London and Head of International Butler Training programmes, said: “I am thrilled that a prestigious airline such as Etihad Airways has engaged us to train their Residence crew to the highest possible standards, enabling them to deliver exceptional and memorable service and passenger care.”
Each of Etihad Airways’ 10 Airbus A380s will feature a single The Residence by Etihad cabin, certified for double occupancy, and service onboard will provide each guest with catering and amenities of their choosing, pre-selected to meet their specific requirements.