Etihad expands into global aviation group
Abu Dhabi, March 3, 2014
UAE national airline Etihad Airways has announced a major step in its long-term business strategy with the creation of the 'Etihad Aviation Group,' marking the transition from a single entity airline to a wider global aviation group.
The Etihad Aviation Group will include Etihad Airways, the newly formed Hala Group including travel and tourism management and global loyalty companies, Etihad Airport Services, and Group support functions.
The key new executive appointments include chief operating officer of Etihad Airways; chief operating officer of Hala Group, and chief operating officer (Equity Partners) who will oversee investments in other airlines. The new group will be headed by James Hogan as Group President and CEO.
The new Etihad Aviation Group structure distinguishes the functions relating purely to Etihad Airways and those required to interface with and support the growth and success of its subsidiaries, joint venture companies and equity partners.
Commenting on the move, Hogan said: "Ten years ago we started life as a small regional carrier, but with global ambitions. Since then we have grown to become one of the world’s leading passenger and cargo airlines, and have expanded and diversified our operations outside the core airline business laying the foundations to become one of the leading aviation and travel groups in the world."
“It is important that this exciting new approach and philosophy is reflected in the way we organise ourselves. The new Etihad Aviation Group structure reflects this diversification and is a natural development to deliver continued and sustainable success for Etihad Airways and its partners,” he remarked.
A new position of COO of Etihad Airways has been created to oversee the day-to-day running of the core airline, he stated.
Recruitment for this position is ongoing and the successful candidate will oversee the major areas of marketing, sales, operations, technical, cargo, flight operations, guest services, guest experience, and safety and quality, added Hogan.
In addition to the core airline, the Etihad Aviation Group also includes a division to coordinate and manage Etihad’s investment in its equity airline partners, and a new role of COO (Equity Partners) will be created within the new structure to ensure an ongoing interface between the airline and its equity partners.
The position will be responsible for leading the identification and realisation of synergy benefits across the equity alliance, as well as having direct responsibility for Air Seychelles and Air Serbia in which Etihad Airways has a management responsibility. Recruitment for this position is ongoing.
A key element in the new structure is the establishment of the Hala Group, led by its new chief operating officer Peter Baumgartner. He was formerly chief commercial officer at Etihad Airways.
The Hala Group has been formed recognising the airline’s commercial opportunities which have grown beyond air travel across a variety of travel and hospitality businesses.
The Hala Group will bring businesses together to drive commercial value for Etihad for Abu Dhabi and for the airline’s equity alliance partners. It combines travel management provided by Hala Travel Management, destination management services of Hala Abu Dhabi, the internationally expanding wholesale and tour operating business, Etihad Holidays, and other major start-up initiatives such as a new global loyalty company.
Functions providing support to the wider Etihad Aviation Group will continue to be led by James Rigney as Group chief financial officer, Ray Gammell as Group chief people and performance officer, and Kevin Knight as Group chief strategy and planning officer. There will also be a new position of Group chief technology officer for which recruitment is also ongoing.
Hogan said: “These are very exciting developments for our business and the strong team we have created in our new structure will greatly enhance and improve the way we work in harmony with our partner airlines and subsidiaries."
“It will ensure that we work more closely than ever before to maximise the tremendous opportunities and deliver a sustainably profitable future for Etihad Airways and wider Etihad Aviation Group members, while ensuring we meet ambitious targets relating to revenue, cost, and synergy benefits,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service