Etihad WeqayaEtihad Airways was this week recognised for its commitment to travellers’ wellbeing after announcing it will become the first airline in the Middle East to offer Weqaya-approved meal selections onboard its flights.

The Department of Health (DoH) acknowledged the efforts of the UAE’s national carrier at a ceremony at SIAL Middle East 2017, one of the region's leading events dedicated to the food, beverage and hospitality sectors, which is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.

With the support of DoH, Etihad Airways’ plans to offer healthy meal options on its flights which comply with the standards of the Weqaya programme are a significant step towards providing passengers a healthier journey.

Etihad Airways will work closely with DoH to ensure meals offered in a pilot phase meet the strict Weqaya food standards. Meals must be rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre, and low in saturated fats and salt, to carry the official Weqaya mark.

Etihad Airways will start rolling out the new menu options across its lounges and onboard all classes – First, Business and Economy – on flights from April 2018. In December 2016, Etihad Aviation Group introduced Weqaya-approved meal options to its six staff restaurants.

Dr. Nadia Bastaki, Etihad Aviation Group Vice President Medical Services, and Linda Celestino, Etihad Airways Vice President Guest Experience and Delivery, accepted the certificate of recognition on behalf of Etihad Airways.

Dr. Bastaki said: “It is so important for Etihad Airways to start incorporating healthy meals into our product and services. With an increase in diseases such as diabetes and obesity in our society, it makes sense for us to target this next area to further enhance our food offering for all guests. Working closely with HoD will provide the support to develop this new and exciting initiative.”