25 May 2017
Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) has recognised 11 university students from across the UAE at the inaugural Fikra awards ceremony, held at the company’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
Fikra (“idea” in Arabic), was launched in 2016, supporting the UAE government’s drive to encourage innovation among younger generations.
The students were encouraged to think innovatively and harness their entrepreneurial spirit to create ideas that could be implemented in businesses and entities across EAG.
More than 2,600 competition ideas were submitted by students, with 502 reaching the final stages. The final awards were presented for eight proposed ideas from the 11 winning students.
Ray Gammell, Etihad Aviation Group Interim Group CEO, said: “It is critical that we engage and inspire the young people of the UAE and that ethos is at the heart of Fikra, which, in its first year has showcased the incredible talent that exists in this country.
“So much creativity and innovation has been generated through Fikra already and I look forward to seeing how the concepts will evolve in the coming months across Etihad Aviation Group as well as how the competition develops over the next few years.”
The Fikra competition focused on delivering ideas around digital evolution, stopover visits to Abu Dhabi, ancillary sales opportunities, improving loyalty schemes, specialist cargo opportunities, social media, youth engagement, airport experience and the environment.
In addition, there was a special category called ‘Out of the Box’ which allowed students to pitch game-changing ideas. These ideas were in-line with some of the concepts that Etihad Airways has previously introduced, such as The Residence, the airline’s private three-room cabin on the A380 aircraft.
The students’ ideas were judged by members of senior management at EAG and the winning students have been offered an internship at some of the group’s key strategic suppliers, including: BT, Cognizant, SAP, TATA Consultancy Services, Sabre, Stelia Aerospace, Zodiac Aerospace, CAE, B/E Aerospace, Recaro Aircraft Seating and Thales Avionics Inc.
The internships will provide the students with an opportunity to develop themselves and their idea in a professional environment and to experience first-hand how major multinational businesses use and benefit from innovation on a day-to-day basis.
Lamis Abu Ashour, who is studying at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, submitted a winning idea which will enhance the guest experience using existing electronic channels. She will now have a dedicated secondment with Thales Aerospace.
Lamis said: “I have always had a keen interest in aviation and when Fikra was announced I immediately saw an opportunity to show the judges that my ideas could really make a difference. I am excited about my secondment and know this will help me with my future career.”
EAG launched the Fikra last year as part of the UAE’s Innovation Week. Etihad Airways continues to invest significantly in technology and innovation. This investment has transformed its operations and businesses, leveraging technology platforms, digital capability and supplier partnerships.