Air Transport World

Etihad's global ambitions.(PROFILE)(Etihad Airways P.J.S.C.)(Company overview)

ETIHAD AIRWAYS IS THE KIND OF Persian Gulf carrier that frustrates the chief executives of European legacy airlines: Determined to expand its global footprint through the aggressive use of sixth and seventh freedom rights, always in talks with Airbus or Boeing for a large aircraft order and controlled by a shareholder that is keen to put its home base on the world map--and has plenty of petrodollars to do so (ATW, 2/08, p. 80).

"We intend to be the global airline from Abu Dhabi," CEO James Hogan confirms. "We will not start flying to Brazil tomorrow, but from our point of view we would like to touch all points of the world as long as it makes sense." Etihad launched a four-times-weekly service to Beijing on March 30, its first new route this year, bringing the number of destinations in its network back to 45 after it abandoned service to Colombo at the end of 2007. It added nine destinations last year.

In the first week of April, its flying schedule will comprise some 706 weekly sectors, up from 400 a year ago. It currently deploys 40 passenger and cargo aircraft including 16 A330-200s, four A340-500s, one A340-300, four A340-600s, one 767-300ER, five 777-300ERs and six A320s. Cargo division Etihad Crystal Cargo, launched in September 2004, operates two A300-600RFs wet-leased from Air Atlanta Icelandic and one MD-11F from World Airways.


Fifteen of its widebodies are configured in a three-class arrangement while its narrowbodies offer two-class service. Two more new A320s will join the fleet in the fourth quarter as well as two A340-600s (of which one is the replacement for the aircraft destroyed in a ground test accident last November at the Airbus Technical Center in Toulouse). …

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