PO Box 35566, Head Office, Khalifa City A,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Evolving partnerships between airlines in Europe and the Middle East are delivering significant new options for international air travellers, including reconnecting markets no longer served by European carriers, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, Mr James Hogan, said today.
Addressing the prestigious Vlerick Marketing Colloquium in the Belgian city of Ghent, Mr Hogan said Etihad Airways was delivering more choice for passengers by providing connections between Europe and a range of other destinations, via the Arabian Gulf.
Mr Hogan said European airlines also were gaining significant numbers of passengers delivered to them by Gulf airlines, feeding traffic into Europe from markets including South East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Australasia.
European nations were benefiting from increased inbound tourism, particularly from markets such as Australia where a strong local currency was driving significant growth in international travel.
Using the example of Europe-Australia travel, Mr Hogan said key European airlines had either withdrawn their own services to Australia or scaled them back over many years, opting instead to serve the market through codeshare partnerships with other carriers.
“It is impossible for every airline to fly to every market,” said Mr Hogan. “These days, airlines achieve global coverage in a more cost-effective way through partnerships with like-minded carriers,” he said.
“Australia has a large number of residents of European heritage, but no longer has any flights operated by carriers based in continental Europe,” Mr Hogan said.
He said Europe was a significant region for Etihad Airways, but one which the airline could not serve effectively or efficiently in its own right.
“We serve Europe through codeshare or equity alliances with 18 partners, delivering strong benefits to all of the carriers and more choice for travellers, and we continue to look for opportunities to build upon these relationships” said Mr Hogan.
Etihad Airways yesterday commenced daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, and expanded its codeshare arrangements with partner airline KLM, adding 12 more destinations on the KLM route network.
Recently, Etihad Airways also increased codeshare operations with two other major partners in Europe, Air France and Alitalia, providing greater access to markets such as Australia and South East Asia, flying via Abu Dhabi.
From June 15, Etihad Airways will commence daily flights between Abu Dhabi and the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
This partnership also will include extensive codesharing with JatAirways, the national carrier of the Republic of Serbia, providing JatAirways with connections between Belgrade and markets including Australia, South East Asia, Africa and the Indian sub-continent, while linking Etihad Airways with a range of destinations in the JatAirways network.
“Our codeshare relationships in Europe, together with our equity partnerships in airberlin and Aer Lingus, are delivering significant benefits not only to each of these airlines and to Etihad Airways, but also great convenience and choice to the customers who fly with us,” Mr Hogan said.
“We expect our relationships will continue to grow, not only with these and other airline partners in Europe, but also in other key markets.”