Hogan slams Etihad’s government-funded rivals

Guest Writer

Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan has hit out at the UAE national airline’s rival flag-carriers in the region, claiming many relied on government subsidies for survival.Speaking at a forum hosted for the Australian Business Group in Abu Dhabi, the Australian CEO claimed Etihad’s approach to business had been “very different” to its competitors.”Unlike many of the original flag-carriers, which ran for decades - yes, decades - on Government hand-outs, subsidies and support, our shareholders have been very clear about the return on investment that is expected - and the commercial basis on which we are to operate.”[There are] no fuel subsidies, no cut-price landing charges - everything is expected to run on a commercial basis.”Hogan stressed the airline remained on track to break even in 2011. He also claimed it had contributed $4 billion to the Abu Dhabi economy in 2009.Etihad’s burgeoning position as one of the world’s leading airlines had also been aided by its fresh outlook, Hogan claimed.”We’ve also not been burdened with some of the other legacy problems of [our] competitors,” he said. “You only have to look at the challenges faced by Willie Walsh and his colleagues at British Airways currently to see the cost - both short-term financial and long term reputational - of such issues,” he said. “The global issues of the last 18 months did slow our pace of growth - but the airline’s performance in the first and second quarter of this year shows the global recovery is well established.”

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