Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has welcomed the announcement that it has been assigned the rating of ‘A’ with a Stable Outlook, by Fitch Ratings.
Fitch Ratings, one of the world’s largest credit ratings agencies, issued the Long-term Issuer Default Rating following a detailed independent analysis of Etihad Airways’ business, its commercial performance and its equity alliance strategy.
Etihad president James Hogan said: “The Fitch A rating is further independent recognition of the strength of this business and of our strategy.
“We have a clear mandate from our shareholder to deliver long-term, sustainable profitability.
“Our organic growth, boosted by our minority equity investment model, is increasingly being recognised as a highly effective strategy to deliver that return.
“We have already raised more than US$ 11 billion to support our growth, from more than 80 financial institutions around the world.
“We raise that finance on commercial terms, with no sovereign guarantees or letters of comfort.
“We have always operated with a high level of transparency to the financial community.
“Our first credit rating now takes that transparency a step further.”
The Fitch rating states that one of the key competitive advantages Etihad has when compared with European and to some extent US peers is the geographic location of its hub in proximity to the fast-growing travel markets of Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Etihad’s more developed route network in these regions gives it a competitive edge over European carriers that are also focusing on connecting the Asian, Middle Eastern and African passenger traffic to Europe and the US.
Hogan added: “This rating, which is based upon detailed analysis of our business performance and our strategy, will help international investors understand our story as we continue to expand our operations and raise additional external financing.
“The A rating also supports Etihad Airways’ strategy of fast-paced organic growth and establishing minority equity investments in key strategic partners around the world.
“These are delivering significant benefits, with our Etihad Partners delivering new revenues as well as major business synergies.”