Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Etihad-Air Arabia venture likely to begin by Q2 2020, Tony Douglas says

New budget airline will start operations from the UAE capital, according to Etihad Airways boss

Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad Airways, speaks at their pavilion during the first day of the 16th Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central. Bloomberg
Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad Airways, speaks at their pavilion during the first day of the 16th Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central. Bloomberg

Etihad Airways' low-cost joint venture with Air Arabia will start operations by the second quarter of next year from Abu Dhabi, according to the airline's boss.

Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad,told reporters during the Dubai Airshow on Monday there are more upcoming announcements about the venture in two to three weeks.

"At the end of the first quarter or second quarter next year, if you want to be on one of these aircraft, that will be the opportunity will be there for you," Mr Douglas said, declining to reveal the destinations. "What we'll see is connectivity from Abu Dhabi using Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, which is going to great for the traveling public and great for Etihad and we're really excited about it."

Etihad Airways, which has been in the red for the last three years consecutively, has a "long way to go" to become profitable, Mr Douglas said.

The airline said it will have a total of 51 Boeing 787 Dreamliners by 2023. It currently has 36 of the wide-body model and will take delivery of the 37th plane next week.

Etihad is teaming up with Boeing for an 'eco partnership' that will use one of its 787 planes to test products, procedures and initiatives that aim to reduce aircraft carbon emissions.

The Etihad Greenliner, the specially-themed eco-friendly jet, will fly in January 2020 to Brussels.

Lessons from the test-bed will be used across Etihad's fleet and the knowledge will be shared industry-wide, Mr Douglas said.

"It's a small step for the industry, but a giant leap for Etihad," he said.

A rendering of the 'Etihad Greenliner'. Courtesy Etihad 
A rendering of the 'Etihad Greenliner'. Courtesy Etihad

The Greenliner will start with flights to Brussels but also be used to operate on all of Etihad's 787 destinations and have a social media presence for the public to follow the flight course.

The eco-friendly operation, which will include using biofuels and reducing weight on the aircraft, will result in improvements in fuel burn.

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Dubai Airshow day one

Updated: November 18, 2019 01:03 PM

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