The Etihad Airways
James Hogan, chief executive officer of Etihad Airways has confirmed that the airline is open for business and considering an alliance with Italy’s Alitalia.Speaking to Bloomberg, Hogan added that the company has also held talks with a few Indian airlines
over the possibility of acquiring a stake.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline already has minority stakes in carriers such as airberlin, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Air Seychelles. “There isn’t a shopping list. Maybe there are one or two more deals we’ll do here, but what I can’t do is something that bogs my management team down. We don’t control those airlines, so we have to be convinced of their strategy,” Hogan said.
In October, Etihad Airways signed a codeshare agreement with Air France-KLM and this has opened the door for an alliance with Italy’s Alitalia seen as Air France-KLM owns a stake in Alitalia. "A relationship with Air France-KLM, Alitalia, combined with airberlin and Aer Lingus, that’s pretty powerful coming over the Gulf down to southeast Asia and Australasia," he added.
The CEO confirmed that his management team is currently engaged in the due diligence process with a couple of Indian airlines. In the past, sources have reported that one of the Indian carriers is Jet Airways with a stake valued at around $290m.
Hogan is confident Etihad can continue to buck the trend and create more partnerships. In October, the airliner released accounts showing an increase in third-quarter revenues by 19 percent to $1.3bn, with a surge in income from its 38 codeshare and airline partners.