x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Etihad on residential leasing spree in Abu Dhabi as staff expands

Abu Dhabi carrier puts landlords on alert as it hunts for new apartments for its fast expanding aviation empire as it hires thousands of new employees.

An Etihad flight attendant welcomes passengers on to an Etihad aircraft. The carrier is seeking apartments as it expands its staff. Sammy Dallal / The National
An Etihad flight attendant welcomes passengers on to an Etihad aircraft. The carrier is seeking apartments as it expands its staff. Sammy Dallal / The National

Etihad Airways is on the hunt for new apartments as it hires thousands of employees to serve its rapidly expanding network.

The Abu Dhabi carrier said in a newspaper advertisement that it was looking to lease residential apartments for up to four years.

It is seeking buildings with at least 28 apartments.

Etihad has been rapidly increasing its workforce as passenger growth through the capital accelerates.

By the end of last year, Etihad had 13,535 employees, up 27 per cent from 10,656 in 2012. Cities such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha are becoming central stages for world travel, as more passengers switch planes on long-haul routes, eating into the market share of more established hubs in Europe.

Craig Plumb, the head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle, said that the demand for apartments coming from Etihad was “good news” for the Abu Dhabi market.

“This will add more confidence in the rental sector and improve the sentiment in the market,” he said. “There are a significant number of unoccupied apartments in Abu Dhabi. The announcement is positive because airlines take these apartments on a long-term basis.”

Prime residential rents in Abu Dhabi were up by about 17 per cent last year, according to JLL.

Etihad’s rapid expansion mirrors that of the Dubai-based Emirates Airline, which has also been adding hundreds of new apartments and villas to accommodate cabin crew, pilots and engineers.

The carrier said last year that it was developing five residential towers in Silicon Oasis to accommodate hundreds of its staff.

Emirates leases and owns more than 12,000 apartments and villas in Dubai, making it one of the city’s largest landlords.

selgazzar@thenational.ae

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