Etihad Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
EY ETD ETIHAD
FoundedJuly 2003; 20 years ago (2003-07)
Commenced operationsNovember 2003; 20 years ago (2003-11)
HubsZayed International Airport
Frequent-flyer program
  • Etihad Guest
  • Etihad One Club
SubsidiariesAir Arabia Abu Dhabi (51%)
Fleet size90
Destinations77[1]
Parent companyEtihad Aviation Group
HeadquartersKhalifa City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates[2]
Key people
Employees8,112 (June 2022)[4]
Websitewww.etihad.com

Etihad Airways (Arabic: شَرِكَة ٱلْاِتِّحَاد لِلطَّيْرَان, romanizedsharikat al-ittiḥād li-ṭ-ṭayarān) is one of two flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates, alongside Emirates. Its head office is in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, near Zayed International Airport. The airline commenced operations in November 2003, and is the second-largest airline in the UAE after Emirates.[5]

The airline operates more than 1,000 flights per week to over 120 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America, with a fleet of 85 Airbus and Boeing aircraft as of January 2024. Its main base is at Zayed International Airport.[6]

In addition to its main activity of passenger transportation, Etihad also operates Etihad Holidays and Etihad Cargo.[5] The airline established its airline alliance, Etihad Airways Partners, in October 2015. It ceased operations in 2018 after several of its members fell into financial difficulties.[7][8] Etihad held minority investments in the participating airlines, and previously had a stake in Virgin Australia until its insolvency in April 2020 with no return on investment.[9]

History

A now-retired Airbus A340-500 wearing the first livery (with the older UAE coat of arms)
A now-retired Airbus A340-600 in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix livery

Background

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi was a joint-owner of Gulf Air along with Bahrain, Qatar, and the Sultanate of Oman. Zayed International Airport was one of Gulf Air's bases and hubs from the 1970s until 2005, when the UAE withdrew from the airline. Gulf Air would remain as a two-state carrier until Oman's exit in 2007 in order to focus on Oman Air and today, Gulf Air is solely owned by Bahrain.[10]

Name

Etihad means "union" or "unity" in Arabic, and represents the unity of the seven Emirates of the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah).

Foundation

In July 2003, future UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who wanted an airline for Abu Dhabi, issued a royal (Amiri) decree that established Etihad Airways as a national airline of the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan founded the airline and utilized AED500 million of start-up capital. Services were launched with a ceremonial flight to Al Ain on 5 November 2003. On 12 November 2003, Etihad commenced commercial operations by launching services to Beirut, Lebanon.

In June 2004, the airline placed a US$8 billion aircraft order for 6 Boeing 777-200 and 24 Airbus aircraft, including 10 Airbus A380s. Its first A380 was delivered in December 2014.[11]

In June 2008 at the Farnborough Airshow, the airline announced an order for 35 Boeing 787s and 10 777s, options for 25 787s and 10 777s, and purchase rights on 10 787s and 5 777s.[12]

Etihad reported its first full-year net profit in 2011, of US$14 million, in line with the strategic plan announced by CEO James Hogan in 2006.[13]

Equity Alliance

In December 2011, Etihad announced it had taken a 29.21% stake in Air Berlin,[14] Europe's sixth-largest airline, and Hogan was appointed Vice Chairman. It followed this up with minority stakes in other airlines—Air Seychelles (40%),[15] Aer Lingus (2.987%),[16] Virgin Australia (10%).[17] On 1 August 2013, the president of the company, Hogan, signed a deal with Aleksandar Vučić, First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, in Belgrade, giving Etihad a 49% stake in the Serbian national carrier Jat Airways.[18] The Serbian Government retained 51% of the shares, with the company being rebranded as Air Serbia.[19]

In September 2012, the Indian government announced that foreign airlines could take up to 49% stake in Indian carriers. On 24 April 2013, Jet Airways announced that it was ready to sell a 24% stake in the airline to Etihad for US$379 million. The deal was completed on 12 November 2013.[citation needed]

At the 2013 Dubai Airshow, Etihad announced that it was acquiring a 33.3% stake in the Swiss carrier Darwin Airline. Darwin was rebranded as Etihad Regional in March 2014.[20] Etihad sold its stake in Darwin in 2017.[21]

On 1 August 2014, Etihad agreed to take a 49% stake in the Italian flag carrier Alitalia for an estimated €560 million. The deal was closed on 8 August 2014.[22] On 1 January 2015, Alitalia-CAI formally passed its operations to Alitalia-SAI, a new entity owned 49% by Etihad and 51% by the Alitalia-CAI shareholders.[23]

In May 2016, the management structure was reshuffled, as Hogan became CEO of the airline's parent company, Etihad Aviation Group. Peter Baumgartner, formerly the airline's Chief Commercial Officer, became chief executive officer of the airline, reporting to Hogan.[24] In December 2016 Handelsblatt Global reported that Hogan was going to be dismissed after a "failed spree of acquisitions in Europe."[25]

On 24 January 2017, the Etihad Aviation Group Board of Directors announced that Hogan (along with Group CFO James Rigney) would be stepping down "in the second half of 2017".[26] Peter Baumgartner, (former CEO of the airline), became the acting CEO of the airline as it faced mounting losses from its investments in Air Berlin and Alitalia.[27] On 2 May 2017 Alitalia filed for bankruptcy.[28] Hogan and Rigney left Etihad later that month.[29] On 27 July Etihad reported a loss of US$1.873 billion for 2016.[30] On 15 August Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy after Etihad withdrew its financial support.[31]

As an interim measure, the board of directors appointed Ray Gammell as CEO (previously Chief People and Performance Officer) while searching for a permanent replacement.[32] On 9 January 2018, Etihad Airways appointed Mark Powers as Group CFO, replacing interim Group CFO Ricky Thirion.[33]

On 2 July 2017, the United States Department of Homeland Security unbanned Etihad Airways and exempted Etihad Airways from the 2017 electronics ban after the airline enhanced its passenger screening processes.[34]

In June 2018 Etihad reported a net loss of US$1.52 billion for 2017.[35]

In February 2019, Etihad announced large order cancellations for both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The airline terminated contracts for all 42 Airbus A350-900s, 2 A350-1000s and 19 of 24 ordered Boeing 777X.[36]

On 1 May 2021 it was announced Etihad Airways sold its 40% stake in Air Seychelles back to the Government of Seychelles.[37]

On 13 May 2023 the Serbian Government announced they had finished acquiring 100% equity in Air Serbia, after several years of buying back stakes from Etihad.[38]

Impact of COVID-19

In May 2020, shortly after Air France retired its entire Airbus A380 fleet due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were rumors that Etihad Airways was considering canceling all its remaining Airbus A350 orders and retiring its entire Airbus A380 fleet due to more financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Etihad's CEO Tony Douglas said that Etihad's A380 fleet was very likely not to fly again in passenger service, and therefore likely to be withdrawn after only 7 years in service. This move would make Etihad the third Airbus A380 operator to retire its Airbus A380 fleet, following Air France-KLM and Hi Fly Malta.[39] However, by 26 May 2020, Etihad confirmed that the airline will not cancel its remaining Airbus A350 orders and plans to proceed with them. The airline also confirmed that it had no plans to ditch its Airbus A380 fleet into early retirement, unlike Air France, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.[40]

However, as of October 2020, some sources stated that the Etihad Airbus A380 still had a potential possibility of early retirement due to the aircraft market changes and demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as Douglas referred to the Airbus A380 as a heavily inefficient handicapped behemoth by two engines too many. Douglas also said that smaller long-range twin-jet aircraft such as the Boeing 777X, 787, and Airbus A350 can do the job far more efficiently and sustainably than that of the A380.[41]

In February 2021, Etihad Airways vaccinated all its operating pilots and cabin crew against COVID-19, the first airline to vaccinate all its operating pilots and cabin crew.[42]

Since most of Etihad's flights were grounded between March and June 2020, the airline's passenger traffic dropped by 76% to 4.2 million in 2020.[43]

Throughout 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Etihad Airways laid off over 1,000 cabin crew and pilots.

Etihad had reported significant losses even before the pandemic; since 2016, it lost over $5.62 billion and in 2019 losses amounted to $870 million.[44] The airline's full-year losses amounted to $1.7 billion in 2020,[45] and $476 million in 2021.[46]

Return to profitability

In July 2022, Etihad announced a record-breaking first-half profitability of $296 million. This was achieved due to the increased passenger travel demand. Etihad carried 3 million more passengers in the first half of 2022, compared to the first half of 2021.

In October 2022 Etihad Airways was transferred ownership over to Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ. Etihad, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Airports, Etihad Holidays and more were all brought into common ownership.[47]

Although the airline had grounded its fleet of 10 A380-800 aircraft with no initial plans to redeploy the aircraft, it was decided that they would return to service. In 2023 Etihad redeployed 4 of their 10 jumbo jets onto their London Heathrow service, with later decisions that an additional A380 would return to the fleet. The airline later announced the redeployment of their A380 to their New York JFK route in April 2024 as well as to Paris Charles de Gaulle from November 2024.[48]

Corporate affairs

Head office

Etihad has its head office in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi,[49] near Abu Dhabi International Airport.[50] Etihad spent 183.6 million UAE dirhams (US$50 million) in 2007 to have its new head office and training center built. The new head office was completed in 2007.[51]

Structure

Etihad Stadium, the home ground of Manchester City Football Club.

Etihad is governed by a board of directors chaired by Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, and operates in terms of its founding legislation and the Article of Association of the company. The board consists of seven independent non-executive members and has two sub-committees, being an executive committee and an Audit Committee, each with its charter and chairman. Other members of the board include Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Mohamed Hareb Sultan Al Yousef, Hamad Abdulla Al Shamsi, Khalifa Sultan Al Suwaidi, and Ahmed Ali Matar Al Romaithi.[52]

The airline was led previously by James Hogan (formerly CEO of Gulf Air) who was appointed as president and chief executive officer on 10 September 2006 until January 2018. He was succeeded by Tony Douglas, who held the post until October 2022.[53] The current CEO of Etihad Group is Antonoaldo Neves.[3]

Etihad Airways equity alliance

Etihad's equity alliance was composed of airlines in which Etihad had minority shareholdings. These consisted of stakes in Air Berlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, and Virgin Australia. As of year-end 2023, Etihad has exited all of these holdings.

With Virgin Australia's bankruptcy and subsequent restructuring, the company's shareholding in the airline ended in its entirety. In late December 2020, the government of Serbia recapitalized Air Serbia, increasing its stake to 82%, thus decreasing Etihad's stake to 18%.[citation needed]

The airline was also a part of the now-disbanded Etihad Airways Partners alliance between 2015 and 2018.[citation needed]

Business trends

Key trends for Etihad Airways are shown below (as at years ending 31 December):

Profits*: Earlier profit/loss figures do not appear to have ever been published; the company announced, however, that it became profitable as from 2011.[54]

Revenue (AEDb) Profits/loss (AEDm) Number of employees Passengers flown (m) Load factor (%) Fleet size[a] Sources
2011 4.1 14 9,038 8.3 76 64 [55]
2012 4.8 42 10,656 10.2 78 70 [56]
2013 6.1 48 13,535 11.5 78 89 [57]
2014 7.6 73 17,712 14.8 79 110 [58][59]
2015 9.0 103 26,566 17.6 79 121
2016 8.4 −1,873 26,229 18.4 79 119 [60]
2017 6.1 −1,523 24,558 18.6 78.5 115 [61]
2018 5.9 −1,280 21,855 17.8 76.4 111 [62][63][64]
2019 5.6 −870 20,369 17.5 78.7 107 [65]
2020 1.2 −1,700 13,587 4.2 78.7 103
2021 1.0 −456 12,533 3.5 39.6 67 [66]
2022 18.3 92 8,112 10.3 81.9 71 [67]
2023 20.3 525 14 86 85 [68]

Company slogans

Corporate sponsorship

Current team sponsorship deals

Team Sport Located Commenced sponsorship Notes
Anorthosis Famagusta FC Association football Larnaca, Cyprus November 2013 Cyprus First Division side
Capital City Go-Go Basketball Washington, D.C., USA August 2018 NBA G League
Chennai Super Kings Cricket (Indian Premier League) Chennai, India February 2024 Back sponsor
Girona FC Association Football Girona, Spain August 2024 Back sponsor
Harlequins Rugby Union London, United Kingdom 30 July 2007 The sponsorship also includes renaming the East Stand at the Twickenham Stoop (the home of Harlequins) to the Etihad Stand. Etihad's logo is painted on the roof of the stand which is under the flight path to London Heathrow Airport.[75]
Harlequins RL Rugby league
Manchester City F.C. Association Football Manchester, England, Great Britain May 2009 Part of the deal now includes the renaming of Manchester City's home ground as "Etihad Stadium".
Mumbai City FC Association Football Mumbai, India December 2019 Principal Sponsor and Front Sponsor of Indian Super League Champions and League Winners Mumbai City FC
Melbourne City FC Association Football Melbourne, Victoria, Australia May 2014 Home kit resembles that of sister club Manchester City.
Mumbai Indians Cricket (Indian Premier League) Mumbai, India April 2014 to 2016 Back sponsor
New York City FC Association Football New York, USA 13 November 2014 Home kit resembles that of sister club Manchester City.
Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 motor racing Maranello, Italy 2008 For the 2007 season, Etihad was one of the title sponsors for the Etihad Aldar Spyker F1 Team. Because the team was purchased by the chairman of another airline (Vijay Mallya, of India's Kingfisher Airlines), Etihad switched to Scuderia Ferrari.
Washington Capitals Ice Hockey Washington, D.C., USA 11 May 2015 NHL team
Washington Mystics Basketball Washington, D.C., USA 11 May 2015 WNBA team
Washington Wizards Basketball Washington, D.C., USA 11 May 2015 NBA team
Al Nassr FC Association Football Al Riyadh, Saudi Arabia August 2018 Football club

Event and organisations

Etihad Airways is the sponsor of Manchester City F.C. One of their Boeing 787-9s (A6-BND) is adorned in a special Manchester City livery.

Former sponsorships

Cargo

An Etihad Cargo Boeing 777F

Etihad Cargo, formerly Etihad Crystal Cargo, is the dedicated freight operations branch of Etihad. The carrier refreshed its brand image in June 2012 dropping the "Crystal" part, with full Etihad Cargo titles now applied billboard-style in line with the airline's current corporate design.

Etihad Cargo operates six Boeing 777Fs. It has previously operated a Boeing 747-400F and Boeing 747-8F, both leased from Atlas Air but operated in full Etihad Cargo colours. In January 2018, Etihad announced it would retire and either sell or lease out its five relatively new Airbus A330-200F freighters due to a change in strategy and reduction of freight capacity.[82] In August 2018, it was announced that all five A330 freighters had been sold to DHL Aviation.[83]

Etihad Cargo delivered 368,000 tonnes of cargo in 2012, a tonnage growth of 19 percent on the back of a capacity increase of 14 percent in available tonnage kilometres. Etihad's new facility at Zayed International Airport is equipped to handle more than 500,000 tonnes annually.[84]

In September 2018, Etihad Cargo announced a revised and heavily downsized network of cargo destinations to reflect the reduced fleet and a focus on core freight operations.[85]

Destinations

Main article: List of Etihad Airways destinations

As of June 2023, Etihad serves 81 passenger and cargo destinations across Africa, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia from its hub at Zayed International Airport.[86] Until terminating the São Paulo service in late March 2017, Etihad Airways was one of the few carriers to have passenger services to all six inhabited continents.[87][88]

As 2021 began, the airline suspended its flights to South Africa as a part of its ongoing review of network performance.[89] Etihad opened a twice-weekly route to Tel Aviv, Israel, in April 2021.[90] Later in June 2023, the airline announced expansions of some routes such as expanding the frequency of flights to Rome from Abu Dhabi from seven to eleven times per week.[91]

Codeshare agreements

Etihad Airways has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[92]

Fleet

Main article: Etihad Airways fleet

Etihad Airways operates a fleet of both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft from four aircraft families Airbus A320 family, Airbus A350-1000, Airbus A380-800, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner totalling 89 aircraft.[106] Initially during the pandemic, Etihad grounded their fleet of 10 Airbus A380-800 aircraft and initially had no plans to return them to service post-pandemic. However, it was decided that the airline would redeploy 4 aircraft in 2023 on their London Heathrow route. The airline later redeployed the A380 on their New York JFK route in April 2024 and announced that from November 2024 Paris would also receive the A380 with Etihad reactivating a 5th A380.

Livery

Current livery

The current livery – named Facets of Abu Dhabi[107] – was unveiled in September 2014 on the first of the airline's new A380s.[108] It features a golden and silver triangular tessellation on the vertical stabilizer and rear fuselage. A golden Etihad logo and a UAE emblem over the windows, with the UAE flag painted on the front door. The background was painted in light beige and the wingtip also has a UAE emblem. The golden colour was inspired by the colour of the Arabian desert.[109]

Former livery (2003–2017)

The former livery features a UAE flag and the national falcon emblem on the vertical stabilizer and a golden Etihad logo on the windows. Red and golden stripes were painted on the fuselage. This livery is still present on a few Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A320s.[110]

Services

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The old "Pearl Business Class" cabin on a former Etihad Airbus A340-500 in 2007
Previous Economy Class seats on an Etihad Boeing 777-300ER in 2006
Etihad Airways offers their The Residence product on their Airbus A380-800s. The Residence apartments are equipped with a bedroom, living room and an en-suite shower room.
The Etihad First Apartment on Airbus A380-800
The Etihad Business Studio on Airbus A380-800

New cabins (from December 2014)

With the introduction of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, new cabins were introduced, their names being: The Residence (A380 only), the First Apartments (A380 only), First Suite (787-9 only), Business Studio and Economy Smart seat. The rest of the fleet will gradually be retrofitted with these cabins except for the Residence and First Apartment cabins, which are exclusive to the Airbus A380. The Residence was the only three-room cabin on any airline when it was introduced in December 2014.[111][112]

The Residence (Airbus A380 only)

The Residence accommodates one or two people, in a space of 125 square feet (11.6 m2). It features a private living room, bedroom, and bathroom. It features a 60.6-inch (154 cm)-wide two-seater reclining sofa and 32-inch (81 cm) TV monitor in the lounge; an en-suite bathroom with shower, an 82-inch (210 cm)-long, 47.5-inch (121 cm)-wide double bed in the bedroom which also includes a 27-inch (69 cm) TV monitor, and formerly included a personal butler.[112]

The Apartment (Airbus A380 only)

First Class suites are offered on Airbus A380s and are named "The Apartment". There are nine in total, configured 1-1 across a single aisle, and take up a total area of 39 square feet (3.6 m2) each. It features a 30.3-inch (77 cm)-wide reclining chair; a full-length ottoman which can be transformed into a bed; a 24-inch (61 cm) TV monitor which can swing to align itself to the ottoman so that it can be viewed from the bed; a vanity cabinet; and a bar with assorted chilled drinks. In 2015, this class was named the world's best first class due to its innovation.[113]

First Suite (Boeing 787–9 only)

Some Boeing 787-9s offer eight First Suites. The service includes a 26-inch (66 cm)-wide reclining lounge chair (which converts into an 80.5-inch (204 cm) fully flat bed); dining table; and a 24-inch (61 cm) TV monitor. All covers are designed by Poltrona Frau. There is a personal wardrobe, along with total privacy with high sliding doors.[114]

Business Studio

The "Business Studio" is on both models, with 70 seats on the Airbus A380s, 28 on the Boeing 787-9s, and 32 on the Boeing 787-10s. The studio seats include a 22-inch (56 cm)-wide reclining chair, which converts into a fully flat bed, and an 18-inch (46 cm) TV monitor. All have leather covers tailored by Poltrona Frau.[115] It is featured in a 1-2-1 seating style so all seats have direct aisle access.

Economy Smart Seat

Economy Smart seats feature a 17-inch (43 cm)-wide seat on the Boeing 787s and 19-inch (48 cm)-wide seat on the Airbus A380s, with a 31-to-33-inch (79 to 84 cm) pitch and 6-inch (15 cm) recline. There is also an 11-inch (28 cm) touch screen fitted with Etihad's entertainment system.[116] It uses a 3-4-3 seating style on the Airbus A380s, and 3-3-3 seating style on the Boeing 787s.

In-flight entertainment

Etihad uses both the Panasonic eX2, eX3, and the Thales TopSeries i5000 in-flight entertainment system with AVOD on its new long-range aircraft and on some of its new A320-200 aircraft.[117]

On 28 April 2019 Etihad announced that it would remove seat-back screens in the economy section of 23 of its narrow-body Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, used for flights of up to 5 hours.[118]

Etihad signed a 10-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation in 2011 for the provision of in-flight entertainment including broadband internet and live TV.[119]

Atlas is the official in-flight magazine of the airline.[120]

Loyalty program

Etihad Guest is the airline's frequent flyer program, launched on 30 August 2006. It offers a discount web shop for members and multiple benefits and perks such as extra baggage and priority check-in for frequent fliers. Points may also be redeemed for tickets or class upgrades. As part of an agreement between Etihad and the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Community Development, senior Emirati citizens get instant access to Etihad's loyalty programme and are entitled to perks of more air miles, discounted tickets, priority check-in, and extra baggage.[121]

As part of a partnership with American Airlines, American Airline loyalty program AAdvantage may be redeemed for tickets on Etihad.[122] Similar partnership exists for the Scandinavian Airlines loyalty program Eurobonus, where members can earn and spend bonus points on selected flights.[123]

Etihad guest loyalty members are rewarded with Etihad miles when they book accommodations through booking.com as a result of a deal signed between booking.com and Etihad airways in 2019.[124]

Accidents and incidents

As of 2024, Etihad Airways has not suffered any fatal accidents during passenger operations.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ at year end

References

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