Etihad reaches out to India

9th May 2007

Etihad Airways has successfully established its presence in 42 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America since it launched three and a half years ago and according to CEO, James Hogan, there is “enormous potential” for the Abu-Dhabi-based carrier to become a leading global brand.
Whilst the carrier now faces the challenge of fulfilling demand on the services that it has already established, it continues to strengthen its route network - and one of the destinations on its radar is India. Breaking Travel News caught up with Hogan for an update on Etihad’s progress to date and aspirations for the future.

BTN: Reports say that you are studying acquisitions in the UAE hospitality industry - can you tell us more about what you are planning in this area?

Hogan: The airline is currently involved in preliminary discussions and evaluations, surrounding investment in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality industry, with other partner organizations, such as Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

BTN: You’ve said that India is one of your cornerstone markets. What potential do you see from this Asian giant?

Hogan: Etihad is looking to build its services and brand in India because there is such huge demand from so many sectors, including inbound and outbound leisure and business travellers. To begin with there is increasing traffic between India, the world’s second fastest growing economy, and North America and Europe for which Abu Dhabi is an ideal hub to pass through. The UAE’s Indian community is also one of the largest in the country, for whom the new Etihad services to Kerala will be particularly important.


BTN: What do you see as other growth markets, beyond the new routes you have planned for this year?

Hogan: Etihad is continually evaluating new markets throughout the world which includes the Far East and North America. There are currently no plans to launch new routes to North America during the next three years, but Etihad is examining the possibility of flights to cities like Chicago and Washington DC.

BTN: Etihad will take delivery of four new A330-200s and two A340-600s in the next six months - what will this order do for the airline?

Hogan: The wide-body aircraft offer both short and long-haul capabilities and will be used on our new services to Milan and Dublin, as well as current flights to destinations like Kuala Lumpur and Sydney.

BTN: What do you see are the major challenges for Etihad going forwards?

Hogan: Following the launch of 42 new destinations in three and a half years, one of Etihad’s biggest challenges is fulfilling the demand for its services both across the Middle East region and around the world. Etihad has won the title of “World’s Leading New Airline” at the World Travel Awards for three consecutive years and is now entering a period of consolidation. In this time the airline will look to strengthen its current network by adding new frequencies as well as exploring new international destinations.

Etihad is a gold sponsor at this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference.

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