EXCLUSIVE: Etihad CEO Slams Legacy Alliances

James Hogan says the Abu Dhabi carrier’s one-on-one partnerships are “easier, faster and more cost effective”.

Etihad Airways’ chief has slammed the traditional aviation alliances labelling them “slow to respond” and “no longer compatible”.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf Business, James Hogan said the Abu Dhabi carrier’s method of one-on-one partnerships was “easier, faster and more cost effective”.

“This strategy has enabled Etihad Airways to create its own alliance and therefore it doesn’t intend to join one of the traditional, legacy alliances,” said Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad.

“The legacy alliances have evolved into slow-to-respond, bureaucratic organisations which struggle to deliver added value to their member airlines, many of which are no longer compatible with each other.

“It is easier, faster, and far more cost effective for Etihad Airways to grow through one-on-one partnerships with established, respected, carriers than to rely on its own resources and to start from scratch in every market,” he said.

His comments come a week after his counterpart at Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker, told reporters: “Good luck to Etihad, I would rather buy aeroplanes with the money I have than football clubs.”

Al Baker was speaking on a media flight to re-launch the much-maligned Boeing Dreamliner. Qatar Airways recently announced it will join the Oneworld alliance later this year.

Hogan, however, is confident Etihad’s approach of minority share pick-ups in regional and semi-global airlines will form a global network for itself.

“In addition to the airline’s own organic growth, it also benefits from cooperation with more than 40 codeshare partner airlines, and equity investments in a select number of airlines around the world,” said Hogan.

“This strategy has brought significant benefit to Etihad Airways and enabled the airline, still less than 10 years old, to create a global footprint and extend its network and reach new customer segments,” he added.

Read the full interview with James Hogan in the June edition of Gulf Business.