After Shrinking, Etihad Airways Now Plans To Develop Massively

Etihad Airways’ CEO has revealed that the airline now has important development plans, after spending the previous a number of years shrinking. Can the airline do it a bit extra sustainability than final time, although?

Etihad desires to triple passenger numbers

Antonoaldo Neves is Etihad’s new CEO as of late 2022, and he gave an attention-grabbing interview to Reuters in regards to the Abu Dhabi-based service’s future plans. In accordance with him, Etihad plans to double its fleet (to 150 plane) and triple its passenger numbers (to 30 million yearly) by the tip of the last decade, amid a technique shift.

As Etihad expands, its focus shall be on medium and lengthy haul locations, and the airline will keep away from working extremely lengthy haul flights, the place it may be robust to become profitable. Neves defined that the purpose shall be connecting locations like China, Southeast Asia, India, and Gulf nations, with Europe and the East Coast of america.

Previously, Etihad was seemingly keen to develop at any price, however Neves emphasizes that development will solely be potential with profitability, particularly because the airline is now owned by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, ADQ. As he defined, “our mandate could be very clear, we don’t fly to locations the place we don’t become profitable.”

Neves has additionally said that the purpose is to develop organically, and never by way of mergers or by way of fairness partnerships. The “outdated” Etihad primarily tried to create its personal world alliance, because the airline invested in carriers like airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, and Virgin Australia. That funding technique couldn’t have been worse.

Etihad plans to double its fleet by 2030

My tackle Etihad’s sustainable development plans

The enterprise fashions of Gulf carriers is form of sophisticated. Their main motive is to place their respective “houses” on the map, and to show them into world hubs. For instance, if Emirates didn’t exist, Dubai wouldn’t almost be what it’s at present. However by making it one of many largest connecting hubs on the planet, it actually places the vacation spot on the map.

Past that, although, the governments of those nations (or areas, because the case could also be) don’t essentially wish to mild cash on hearth, and may need a change of coronary heart over time. That’s precisely what we’ve seen at Etihad. Going again a decade, Etihad’s plan was to tackle Emirates and develop massively, attempting to show Abu Dhabi right into a hub that might compete with Dubai.

However that triggered billions of {dollars} in losses, and there have been no indicators of that altering. So the federal government had sufficient, after which finally principally turned the airline right into a shell of its former self. Beneath the management of the latest former CEO, Tony Douglas, the airline underwent a formidable turnaround, and have become worthwhile (admittedly “profitability” works a bit in a different way within the Center East, when the identical events personal the airport, airline, and many others.).

On the floor it might sound that Etihad is heading down the identical path it was on a decade in the past, however studying between the traces, I don’t assume that’s the case. Neves has the precise priorities right here, and there’s no cause you possibly can’t develop whereas nonetheless working a disciplined, for-profit operation.

I believe the point out of 150 plane by 2030 can be value briefly inspecting. Over the approaching years, Etihad ought to have round 20 A350s and round 70 787s (account for present plane along with future orders). On high of that, Etihad has 26 A321neos on order. With another fleet sorts in all probability being retired within the coming years, I think that we might even see one other plane order from Etihad, significantly for slim physique plane.

These development plans additionally make me extra assured that Abu Dhabi will lastly open its long-delayed Midfield Terminal, which beforehand appeared prefer it may simply by no means open.

Will Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal lastly open?

Personally I’m actually blissful to see the route that Etihad has taken. Based mostly on my latest A350 enterprise class flight, the airline actually has its groove again, and affords a terrific passenger expertise with out being too over-the-top.

Etihad is providing a terrific passenger expertise these days

Backside line

After spending years shrinking, Etihad as soon as once more plans to develop, with the purpose of doubling its fleet and tripling passenger numbers by 2030. It’s very nice to see Etihad’s renaissance, and I’m optimistic based mostly on a few of the issues that the corporate’s CEO is saying about solely including worthwhile routes, and avoiding extremely lengthy haul flights.

What do you make of Etihad’s development plans?

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