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Thu 14 Aug 2008 04:33 PM

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57% have no loyalty to Gulf-based airlines

Arabian Business poll shows many disagree with carriers' inclusion in world top 10 list.

Gulf-based airlines are no longer the automatic first option for local people flying abroad, an Arabian Business poll has revealed.

About half of those who took part in our online survey on Wednesday said they either shopped around to compare other airlines or they actively steered clear of local carriers.

The poll was run following news that three Gulf carriers - Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – had been voted in the 2008 list of the world's top 10 airlines.

According to the latest survey by Skytrax, a global air transport research organisation, Qatar Airways came seventh, followed by Emirates in ninth and newcomer Etihad in tenth place.

For Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways it represented a huge leap up the rankings, having previously been rated at 23 last year.

But only 10 percent of poll respondents declared they always flew with Gulf-based airlines because they couldn't fault the service.

Another 33 percent said that the majority of their in-flight experiences with local carriers had been pleasant while 39 percent said that because of recent fare increases they now looked elsewhere to see if other airlines offered better bargains.

The inclusion of Emirates, Qatar and Etihad in the world's best list was branded a joke by a further 18 percent of people who claimed their experiences of flying with them was terrible.

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