Etihad Airways has announced that Manchester had been selected as the location for its newest contact centre.
The new centre, which is expected to be operational in 2012, will employ up to 160 people and operate in addition to Etihad's existing contact centres in Abu Dhabi, including the newly-opened Al Ain contact centre, India and Australia.
Etihad is currently working with Manchester Airports Group to identify a suitable location on the airport campus for the centre.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways' Chief Executive Officer, said: "Our contact centres handle around 2.5 million calls each year, and we expect more than half of these calls to originate from non-Arabic speaking markets by 2012.
"As our network continues to grow, it is increasingly important for us to provide high quality, multilingual assistance for customers who choose to book directly with the airline.
"We looked closely at a range of potential locations in the United Kingdom and Europe, and undertook extensive research to find the location that offered us a population base with the right mix of languages and skill sets, as well as a high quality of telecommunications infrastructure.
"Manchester offered everything we needed, and had the added attraction of having strong, well-established business links with Abu Dhabi - a relationship we look forward to developing further."
Mr Hogan paid tribute to the Manchester Investment and Development Agency (MIDAS), which had - under the guidance of the Chief Executive Officer of Manchester City Council, Sir Howard Bernstein - made a compelling case for Manchester as a centre of excellence.
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