In addition to its new investment in Jet Airways, Etihad Airways has also acquired stakes in airberlin (just under 30 per cent), Air Seychelles (40 per cent), Virgin Australia (8.56 per cent) and Aer Lingus (just under 3 per cent), and continues to explore opportunities where they make financial and strategic sense.
The global air travel map is being redrawn as growth rates slow in traditional markets and surge in evolving economies including India, Africa and Latin America, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, said on Thursday.
Speaking during the fifth annual Airneth Lecture to aviation industry executives, policymakers and researchers in Amsterdam, Hogan said the major shift occurring in the global economy was impacting significantly upon the air transport industry, requiring airlines to reshape their networks and enter new partnerships in order to remain competitive.
“Legacy markets are growing, but at a slower pace. Emerging markets are surging,” Hogan said. “Traffic patterns and demographics are changing. Traditional air transport hubs are declining in prominence, with growth constrained by inadequate infrastructure and ingrained political resistance to change. The Arabian Gulf – the geographic centre of the world – is now evolving as the global centre of the air transport industry, with the number of passengers passing through Gulf hubs outstripping industry growth rates.”
IATA figures show that in February 2013, Middle East hub traffic was up by 10.6 per cent over February 2012, compared with the global growth rate of 3.7 per cent.
However, Hogan also said that the airline industry’s growth would be held back by governments under-investment, inefficient airspace management, and continued application of operating and investment restrictions designed decades ago.
He said growth also would be maximised in markets like Abu Dhabi where governments embraced and implemented open skies policies, and planned airports, infrastructure, airspace corridors and operational regulations to support the industry and its customers.
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