Etihad Airways (Arabic: شَرِكَة ٱلْاِتِّحَاد لِلطَّيْرَان, romanized: sharikat al-ittiḥād li-ṭ-ṭayarān) is the flag carrier of the UAE and the second-largest airline in the country (after Emirates). Its head office is in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, near Abu Dhabi's International Airport. Etihad commenced operations in November 2003.
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 102 Airbus and Boeing aircraft as of February 2020. In 2015, Etihad carried 14.8 million passengers, a 22.3% increase from the previous year, delivering revenues of US$9.02 billion and net profits of US$103 million. Its main base is Abu Dhabi International Airport.
In addition to its core activity of passenger transportation, Etihad also operates Etihad Holidays and Etihad Cargo. Etihad established its airline alliance, Etihad Airways Partners, in October 2015 which was disbanded in 2018 after several of its members fell into financial difficulties. Etihad Airways holds minority equity investments in the participating airlines, as well as holding a stake in Virgin Australia, which is not officially listed as an Etihad Airways Partner. Booking for these airlines is consolidated under one network.
Etihad Airways was established as the second flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates in July 2003 by Royal (Amiri) Decree issued by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who wanted an airline for Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan established the airline. It started with an initial paid-up capital of AED500 million. Services were launched with a ceremonial flight to Al Ain on 5 November 2003. On 12 November 2003, Etihad commenced commercial operations with the launch of services to Beirut, Lebanon. Before the establishment of Etihad, Gulf Air was the airline which was based at Abu Dhabi International Airport and was also co-owned by Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman.
The airline announced what was the largest aircraft order in commercial aviation history at the Farnborough Airshow in 2008, for up to 205 aircraft—100 firm orders, 55 options, and 50 purchase rights.
In December 2011, Etihad announced it had taken a 29.21% stake in Air Berlin, Europe's sixth-largest airline, and James Hogan was appointed Vice Chairman. It followed this up with minority stakes in other airlines—Air Seychelles (40%), Aer Lingus (2.987%), Virgin Australia (10%). On 1 August 2013, the President of the company, James 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. The Serbian Government retained 51% of the shares, with the company being rebranded as Air Serbia.
In September 2012, the Indian government announced that foreign airlines could take a stake of up to 49% 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.
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 from March 2014. Etihad sold its stake in Darwin in 2017.
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. 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.
In May 2016, the management structure was reshuffled, as James 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.
In May 2017, a week after Alitalia collapsed into administration, Etihad Aviation Group suddenly announced that CEO James Hogan and CFO James Rigney would leave the group on 1 July 2017. 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. On 9 January 2018, Etihad Airways appointed Mark Powers as Group CFO, replacing interim Group CFO Ricky Thirion.
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.
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.
Etihad has its head office, in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, near Abu Dhabi International Airport. Etihad spent 183.6 million UAE dirhams (US$50 million) in 2007 to arrange to have its new head office and training center built. The new head office was scheduled to be finished by the end of 2007.
Etihad is governed by a board of directors chaired by H.E. Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei and operates in terms of its founding legislation and the Article of Association of the Company. The Board consists of seven independent non-executive members and has two sub-committees, being an Executive Committee and an Audit Committee, each with its charter and chairman. Other members of the board include: H.E. Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, H.E. Mohamed Hareb Sultan Al Yousef, H.E. Hamad Abdulla Al Shamsi, H.E. Khalifa Sultan Al Suwaidi, H.E. Ahmed Ali Matar Al Romaithi.
The airline was led previously by James Hogan (formerly CEO of Gulf Air) who was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer on 10 September 2006 until January 2018. The current CEO of Etihad Group is Tony Douglas who was appointed as Chief Executive Officer on January 2018.
Etihad Airways equity alliance
The incorporated airlines were also part of the now-disbanded Etihad Airways Partners alliance between 2015 and 2018.
The key recent trends for Etihad Airways are shown below (as at years ending 31 December):
|Profits* (EBITDAR) (US$b)||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||0.7||0.9||1.1||1.4||n/a|
|Profits* (EBIT) (US$m)||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||137||170||208||257||259||n/a|
|Net profit/loss (US$m)||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||14||42||48||73||103||−1,873||−1,520||−1,280|
|Number of employees||5,563||7,058||7,828||7,855||9,038||10,656||13,535||17,712||26,566||26,229||24,558||21,855|
|Number of passengers (m)||4.6||6.0||6.3||7.1||8.3||10.2||11.5||14.8||17.6||18.4||18.6||17.8|
|Passenger load factor (%)||69||75||74||74||76||78||78||79||79||79||78.5||76.4|
|Cargo carried (000s tonnes)||175||194||219||263||310||368||486||569||592||596||552||682|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||37||42||53||57||64||70||89||110||121||119||115||111|
Profits*: Earlier profit/loss figures do not appear to have ever been published; the company announced, however, that it became profitable as from 2011.
Current team sponsorship deals
|Anorthosis Famagusta FC||Association Football||Larnaca, Cyprus||November 2013||Cyprus First Division side|
|Capital City Go-Go||Basketball||Washington, DC, USA||August 2018||NBA G League Subsidiary of Monumental Sports & Entertainment|
|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.|
|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".|
|Melbourne City FC||Association Football||Melbourne, VIC, 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, United States of America||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 Subsidiary of Monumental Sports & Entertainment|
|Washington Mystics||Basketball||Washington, D.C, USA||11 May 2015||WNBA Subsidiary of Monumental Sports & Entertainment|
|Washington Wizards||Basketball||Washington, D.C, USA||11 May 2015||NBA Subsidiary of Monumental Sports & Entertainment|
Event and organisations
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 five Boeing B777Fs. It has previously operated a Boeing 747-8F and Boeing 747-400F, 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. In August 2018, it was announced that all five A330 freighters had been sold to DHL Aviation.
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 Abu Dhabi International Airport is equipped to handle more than 500,000 tonnes annually.
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.
As of June 2019, Etihad serves 81 passenger and cargo destinations across Africa, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia from its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport. 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.
As of February 2020, the Etihad fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Airbus A350-1000||—||17||TBA||Only 5 aircraft confirmed for delivery|
of which 4 already delivered in 2019 have been stored.
|Boeing 777-300ER||19||—||—||8||40||280||328||16 aircraft to be sold and leased back.|
|Etihad Cargo fleet|
Etihad Airways operated the following aircraft in the past:
|Airbus A300-600R||1||2006||2008||Airbus A330|
|Airbus A300-600RF||2||2005||2010||Airbus A330-200F|
|Airbus A330-200F||5||2010||2018||Boeing 777F|
|Airbus A330-200||16||2009||2019||Boeing 787|
|Airbus A330-300||6||2009||2019||Boeing 787|
|Airbus A340-500||4||2006||2017||Boeing 787|
|Boeing 747-400ERF||1||2013||2015||None||Leased from Atlas Air.|
|Boeing 777-200LR||5||2014||2018||Boeing 787|
The current livery was unveiled in September 2014 on the first of the airline's new A380s. 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.
The former livery features a UAE flag and emblem on the vertical stabilizer and a golden Etihad logo on the windows. Red and golden stripes were painted on the fuselage. The former livery was phased out in 2017.
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), 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 in the sky when it was introduced in December 2014.
- 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 ensuite 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 a personal butler.[failed verification]
- First Apartment (Airbus A380 only)
First Class on Airbus A380s was overhauled with the "First Apartments". 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 luxurious innovation.
- First Suite (Boeing 787-9 only)
Select Boeing 787-9s feature eight First Suites to accommodate the narrower aircraft. 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 tailored by Poltrona Frau. There is a personal wardrobe, along with total privacy with high sliding doors.
- 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. 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 787 and 19-inch (48 cm)-wide seat on the Airbus A380, 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. It is featured in a 3-4-3 seating style.
Since 2018, Etihad Airways has announced its new brand platform named "Choose Well" which allows guests to make choices about how they travel in terms of airport services, luggage allowance, seats and the addition of Buying On Board service.
Etihad uses both the Panasonic eX2 and the Thales TopSeries i5000 in-flight entertainment system with AVOD (audio-video on demand) system on its new long-range aircraft and on some of its new A320-200 aircraft. Etihad brands this system as the "E-box". International destination fleets have a plug-and-play system which works on USB technology, that allow passengers to play their own audio, video and picture media. The Airbus A330s and Boeing 777-300ER all have in-flight telephone facility.
On 28 April 2019 Etihad announced that it will remove seat-back screens in the economy section of 23 of its narrow-body Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, aircraft that are to be used for flights up to 5 hours long.
Etihad signed a new 10-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation in 2011 for the provision of in-flight entertainment including broadband internet and live TV.
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 enjoy perks of more air miles, discounted tickets, priority check-in, and extra baggage.
As part of a partnership with American Airlines, American Airline loyalty program AAdvantage may be redeemed for tickets on Etihad. Similar partnership exists for the Scandinavian Airlines loyalty program Eurobonus, where members can earn and spend bonus points on selected flights.
Accidents and incidents
Etihad Airways has not suffered any fatal accidents or injuries during passenger operations.
Etihad Airways flew the world's first Boeing 787 commercial flight using locally produced jet fuel derived from salicornia plant on 16 January 2019. The aviation biofuel was researched and developed by Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), a non-profit entity established by Masdar Institute, part of the Khalifa University of Science and Technology. The 787 engine was powered by General Electric's next-generation 1B engines and flew for more than seven hours, taking off from Abu Dhabi and arriving in Amsterdam.
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