Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said both Alitalia and Air Berlin are operating in “very tough competitive environments, and need to address long-standing issues facing their businesses.” Etihad has a stake in both airlines.
In a speech in Dublin, Hogan said that Alitalia is finalising a business plan to “address its issues,” and that Air Berlin’s strategy is now on track, as per a statement issued by the Abu Dhabi airline on Wednesday.
Alitalia and Air Berlin have both been struggling, with the latter cutting its core fleet in half. In December, Air Berlin also named Lufthansa manager Thomas Winkelmann as chief executive officer. This came after mounting losses for Air Berlin as it struggled to reduce its costs.
Regarding Alitalia, Hogan along with executives from the Italian carrier met with Italian ministers on January 9 to discuss the latest cash crisis and agreed to submit “a detailed industrial plan” within weeks, according to Bloomberg reports.
No plans for lufthansa stake
At the 19th annual Global Airfinance Conference, Hogan also said Etihad has no plans to take a stake in Germany’s Lufthansa, though both airlines are exploring the possibility of expanding their recent cooperation agreement, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
“Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, and Etihad Regional have all used our capital investments to help structure their businesses into more efficient and profitable operations. In those cases, our long term investments are already delivering a return. However, we have faced greater challenges with Air Berlin and with Alitalia,” Hogan said in his speech.
He added: “We are committed to our equity partner strategy — it delivers a huge amount to our business. Some of those airlines need to reach to the market pressures they face, and we are supportive of that process.”
Hogan further said Etihad Aviation Group’s partnership strategy has been a core element of business growth, delivering revenue and synergy benefits.