Etihad boss lashes out
Are we seeing what could turn into a cat fight between two competing Airlines?
July 22, 2012 10:00 by M. Aldalou
Etihad Airways and Qantas, a domestic Australian airline may be seeing the beginning of a beautiful Cat Fight relationship. James Hogan, chief executive of the UAE based airline lashed out against Qantas for attempting to misuse information and propaganda to undermine the image of Etihad Airways.
Last year, Etihad had acquired a 4.9% share in Virgin Australia and now the government has given them the green light to double their ownership to 10%. Qantas’s worst nightmare had come true and they reportedly lobbied government and opposition politicians about Etihad’s desire to invest in Virgin, warning that the “Abu Dhabi-based carrier would cross-subsidise Virgin’s domestic business with the specific aim of weakening Qantas.”
Hogan responded to these words of paranoia by announcing that Etihad will never seek control of Virgin Australia.
Virgin is Qantas’s key domestic Australian competitor and last month the “Flying Kangaroo” reportedly warned the government it could go under if Etihad was allowed a greater stake in its rival.
Qantas is facing heavy friction from taxes and rising energy costs and subsequently fear that Etihad could have a major attack on their lucrative domestic market. Conclusively, it could be that Etihad’s success in Australia would be Qantas’s doom.
Hogan told the press that any claim that Etihad planned to take control of Virgin to challenge Qantas was ridiculous. “What we won’t do is get into a position where it means we take control of the business,” he said.
Airlines all over the world are have been experiencing similar tension with energy costs rising and carbon taxes imposed. The competition is cut throat and only the strongest will survive. Airlines in the Middle East have built a strong base for themselves. Etihad, Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways are known to be one of the strongest in the world.
Lashes between Airline executives are something we might be seeing frequently.