Etihad Airways has revealed its plans to expand its global reach by entering into partnerships with Chinese and American operators.
In the coming years, Etihad plans double-digit growth on the back of higher passenger traffic in emerging markets, such as China and South America. The airline, which is already benefiting from code-shares and other minority stake investments, is keen to build alliance in both China and the Americas. Recently, the airline had entered into a strategic code-sharing partnership with Kenya Airways in a bid to expand rapidly across Africa.
James Hogan; “We will continue to work with other airlines to broaden our network. With China, we need to build (a partnership). South America and America, we need to build (a partnership). We continue to see double-digit growth as we look over the horizon.” — James Hogan, Etihad CEO, speaking on the sidelines of the Australia Pacific Aviation Summit in Sydney
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier has become a prominent player in the global aviation industry over the past ten years. It holds stakes in Virgin Australia, Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles, and is on the brink of a USD 369 million stake in India’s Jet Airways. Further, the airline has also announced its plans to buy a 49 per cent stake in Serbia’s loss-making JAT Airways.
Figures released by International Air Transport Association (IATA) show that Middle East airlines continue to show impressive growth through expansion in international passenger markets. These airlines grew at the rate of 15.4 percent and accounted for almost a third of the total expansion in international passenger markets in 2012. Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates Airlines continued to achieve strong growth in profits as they were able to attract large passenger volumes on the back of growth in regional tourism, aggressive marketing campaigns and increase in routes.