Eithad takes aim at “desperate" rivals

Eithad takes aim at “desperate" rivals
By admin

The world order of aviation is changing despite the best efforts of legacy European carriers to squeeze out younger competitors, according to Etihad chief executive James Hogan.

Melbourne-born Hogan branded attempts to shut Gulf carriers out of certain markets as a “desperate” strategy from struggling airlines.

Speaking in Sydney yesterday, he said “Europe is no longer the centre of the world when it comes to aviation”.

“They are trying to shut Gulf carriers out, be it in India, Canada or anywhere else but it is short term thinking at best,” he said. “Protecting a market from free competition is always the last resort of the desperate. It merely obscures the brutal truth. Competition should always be welcome.”

Hogan described comments from former Star Alliance chief executive Jaan Albrecht that Gulf carriers “steal” business and do not generate new traffic as “extraordinary”.

“European carriers are increasingly coming to terms with the threat to their market share by the younger carriers,” he told the National Aviation Press Club. “They don’t like it, that’s natural, but that’s competition. But saying Gulf carriers are not generating new traffic is extraordinary.

“The Gulf region alone had over 50 million people, between half and a third are under the age of 25. Within three hours flying time we have a market of a billion people. Many of them have only recently found themselves able to afford to travel by air.”

Middle East hubs have become “the crossroads of global aviation”, he added, with increasing numbers of passengers looking to alternatives to European carriers and hubs.

Highlighting Etihad’s reach into Europe, Hogan said: “There is no longer the need for passengers to fly back on themselves. Europe is no longer the centre of the world when it comes to aviation.”

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