Etihad Airways is leading the way for healthy airplane meals. It was the first airline in the middle east to offer a health-focussed menu. In April 2018 Etihad Airways began to introduce a Weqaya menu option, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health.
The range of healthy food options were rolled out on-board long-haul flights (departing from Abu Dhabi), in first and business class, and in its lounges at Abu Dhabi International Airport. In December 2016, Etihad introduced Weqaya food items to restaurants in its headquarters, further highlighting its commitment to the health and well-being of its employees.
But, what exactly is Weqaya?
Weqaya, derived from Arabic, means ‘prevention’. The department of health created the programme with the aim to encourage people to eat a healthy and balanced diet, in order to support good health and wellbeing.
The Weqaya food programme will help contribute to effective reduction of risk factors associated with major diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Etihad Airways will work closely with the Department of Health to ensure meals offered meet the strict Weqaya food standards. Unlike a lot of typical airline menus, Weqaya meals must be rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre, and low in saturated fats and salt, to carry the official Weqaya mark.
With the massive rise of health conscious travellers, Etihad Airways have listened to the ever growing global concerns over on-board food options. Etihad Airways plan to offer healthy meal options on its flights is a significant step towards providing passengers a healthier journey. Dr. Nadia Bastaki, Etihad Aviation Group Vice President Medical Services, 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 society, it makes sense for us to target this next area to further enhance our food offering for all guests.”