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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Etihad Airways looks to sustainability regarding future growth

Abu Dhabi airline will adopt a “strategic” approach to expansion and future collaborations after pulling out of partnerships with Alitalia and Air Berlin

Tony Douglas will take responsibility for Etihad Airways. Victor Besa / The National
Tony Douglas will take responsibility for Etihad Airways. Victor Besa / The National

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways will take a more sustainable approach to growth and will remain a major global player in the aviation industry amid efforts to restructure the business.

The carrier, which has invested in luxury First-Class suites and expanded its long-haul network, will not become a “boutique airline” and sees itself as “an airline of choice”, Tony Douglas, Etihad Aviation Group’s chief executive, said at a conference in the capital. The airline will adopt a “strategic” approach to expansion and future collaborations after its investments in Alitalia and Air Berlin, both of which filed for insolvency after the airline pulled out of its partnerships with them.

“That would be the take out, to be very disciplined, very measured,” Mr Douglas said at the Global Aerospace Summit. “We will choose wisely, we will make sure the detail is well-attended to.”

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Etihad has restructured its business over the past year, after posting an annual loss in 2016, which included cutting some routes and reducing its freighter fleet and is yet to reveal details of its future growth plans. Mr Douglas took over in January after the departure of group chief James Hogan, under whom the airline invested billions of dollars in an equity alliance strategy to add more customers and routes quickly.

Etihad, which was founded in 2003, is open to the prospect of more collaboration with Dubai-based Emirates where there is mutual benefit, Mr Douglas said.

“Its fair to say that, as two partners from the United Arab Emirates, we will continue to consider, where appropriate, what are the things that we can do together.”

Last month, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark told reporters in Hamburg there was room for cooperation between the two airlines.

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