June 21, 2012 / 3:58 PM / 7 years ago

Etihad Airways raises hens, bees to beat competition

DUBAI (Reuters) - Etihad Airways, battling to distinguish itself from rival Gulf Arab carriers, has bought 200 hens and three beehives as part of the fight to win customers by appealing to their palates.

The state-backed Abu Dhabi airline, which competes against Dubai-owned Emirates airline and Qatar Airways, said on Thursday its new hens and bees will produce eggs and honey to be served exclusively to its passengers.

The airline is also developing “a line of signature pickles”, all grown at an organic farm in Abu Dhabi.

“We are thrilled to be the only airline in the world offering organic eggs and honey directly from our own locally raised hens and bees,” Etihad said in a statement detailing its poultry plans.

The eggs from the free-range hens will be used in first-class dishes, including “the hugely popular ‘eggs any style’ breakfast option,” prepared by the airline’s onboard chefs.

The three Gulf Arab airlines are battling for dominance and frequently top each other with new levels of luxury. Emirates airline offers shower facilities to first class passengers on its Airbus A380 jumbo jets.

Reporting by Praveen Menon, editing by Paul Casciato

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