Aviation future in the hands of flyers

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Both corporate and leisure travellers will have more say in the aviation industry if Etihad has anything to do with it.

Etihad boss James Hogan has called for more attention to what travellers want, with consumer choice taking a front seat at an international business travel convention recently.

The president and ceo emphasised the importance of consumer choice and innovation as the fundamental drivers of competition in the international airline industry, addressing a 4000-strong audience at the 2015 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention in Orlando.

In a discussion that shone the spotlight on emerging opportunities and challenges in the global aviation industry, Hogan noted that business and leisure travellers alike are demanding greater choice when it comes to networks, schedules, products and services, loyalty rewards, convenience and the price-tag of it all.

“What we bring to the market is competition, we bring fantastic choice in regard to product and services,” Hogan said.

“We see strong demand in premium and we’re very focused on the business traveller – when you look at our lounges, when you look at the services that we provide – to ensure that the trip is as seamless as it can be.”

Hogan highlighted Etihad’s business model, which focuses on extending the airline’s growth through codeshare partnerships to keep more avenues of choice open for travellers.

“We work in a digital age where the consumer, whether it’s corporate or leisure, can go online and they look to points of the world they wish to travel,” he said.

“Now within that, we have a partnership with these airlines where we’re now strengthening our global network – top line generating revenue and bottom line tackling cost together.”

Hogan stressed the impact of rapidly growing markets like China, India and Southeast Asia on international traffic flows and traditional international hubs, while pointing to how Etihad is working to innovate more to address these changing customer needs.

“Innovation – one of the greatest things about travel in this era is the consumer can find out so much about your business,” he said.

“In our culture, we don’t have passengers, we have guests and that guest experience –  whether it’s first class, business class or economy – is fundamental, and treating the guest with respect.”

Looking at features offered by the airline, Hogan said the relatively young carrier had produced a number of product offerings for distinct customers, including The Residence, First Apartments, First Suites, Business Studios, Economy Smart Seats, in-flight chefs, butlers and flying nannies.

Photo Caption: Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan speaks at the 2015 Global Business Travel Association Convention in Orlando, Fla.

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