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COVID-19

Etihad CEO Tony Douglas sees airline on road to recovery after mid July

On CNN’s Quest Means Business, Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas spoke about the company’s plans to slowly increase the number of flights it is operating, as the airline industry attempts to recover in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Douglas noted that it is a small steps in a very controlled way, subject obviously to government approval in Abu Dhabi and the destinations in question. But his sense was that the industry is looking at the 16th of July to make a few more steps, and hopefully with the right approvals in place about where it’s safe to fly. The airline will build off the back of that.

During the current crisis, Etihad has been providing its aircraft for use in humanitarian and repatriation flights. The company recently carried out the first commercial UAE to Israel flight, delivering aid to Palestinians. When asked if this could become a permanent route for the airline, Douglas said destinations would change in the wake of the pandemic. He said that the world continues to change. There are destinations that Etihad Airways has been flying to in the past that will no longer be economically viable going forward. And equally, there are probably new places that will emerge as a result of the economic changes and the airline will find opportunities there.

With profits down across the industry, it has been suggested that Etihad could merge with fellow UAE carrier Emirates. Douglas praised the two companies’ cooperation during the pandemic, but denied a merger, “At this point in time, I don’t know of any plans in that regard, and were there ever to be so, it’s something that would be handled at stakeholder level or shareholder level, but what we are doing, wherever possible is working together.”

Key quotes

Douglas on adding more flights
It is a small steps in a very controlled way, subject obviously to government approval here in Abu Dhabi and the destinations in question. But my sense is we are looking at the 16th of July is when we see that we would like to make a few more steps, and hopefully with the right approvals in place where it’s safe to fly, we will build off the back of that.

Douglas on the impact of coronavirus
The heaviest losses that all airlines are taking at the moment, and there is no denying that, and that is a reality of what Covid has done to our industry. And obviously the economic tsunami that seems to be washing through as a result.

Douglas on a merger with Emirates
At this point in time, I do not know of any plans in that regard, and were there ever to be so, it is something that would be handled at stakeholder level or shareholder level, but what we are doing, wherever possible is working together.”

Douglas on humanitarian aid flights
In terms of the humanitarian flying that we’ve been doing, I can tell you, I thought I had a reasonably well-developed knowledge of geography. We’ve been flying to places we hardly knew existed. We’ve been doing an extensive amount of humanitarian aid. The governments of the UAE has generously been donating support all around the world.

Douglas on plans for future routes
The world continues to change. I imagine there are destinations that we’ve been flying in the past that we will no longer find economic value in going forward. And equally, there was probably places that will emerge as a result of the economic changes that will be around all of us that will find opportunity in.

Source: CNN’s Quest Means Business.

Source : https://www.biznesstransform.com/etihad-ceo-tony-douglas-sees-airline-on-road-to-recovery-after-mid-july/

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