Global investment not threat but lifeline for aviation sector: Etihad CEO James Hogan
"Global investment is not a threat. It is both a lifeline and an energiser which can only be good for European aviation and European jobs," Hogan said.
"Alitalia is a company with a great heritage and global brand recognition but over many years, Alitalia has lost its way and become a challenged business," President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways James Hogan said.
"Global investment is not a threat. It is both a lifeline and an energiser which can only be good for European aviation, European economies and European jobs," he said yesterday.
Etihad last year invested 560 million euros ($643 million) to acquire 49 per cent stake in New Alitalia, 75 per cent interest in Alitalia Loyalty which operates MilleMiglia frequent flier scheme, and the future purchase of five pairs of London Heathrow Airport slots for leaseback to Alitalia.
Last year's ground-breaking investment by Etihad Airways in Alitalia has revitalised Italy's national airline and set it on a new course towards sustainable profitability, Hogan, said at Rimini Roundtable Discussion, a prestigious annual event held in the historic Italian town of Rimini to discuss issues of cultural and economic importance to Italy.
Etihad's commitment was the largest part of a broader investment with other stakeholders which totaled $988 million, he said.
Hogan said the Etihad Airways investment in Alitalia was a cost-effective way for both airlines to progress, while delivering more choice and better quality to consumers.
"Let's not forget that nobody else wanted to invest in Alitalia. But we see a great future for Alitalia and we are committed to working with other shareholders and with the airline to help rebuild it as a premium brand and a profitable business," Hogan said.
Etihad Airways helped expand Alitalia's global reach by connecting the networks of both airlines via Etihad's hub and home base in Abu Dhabi, with each carrier entering into codeshare agreements on each other's services.
Etihad also assisted Alitalia in sourcing new wide-body aircraft to increase long-haul services.
"We have not only ensured that Alitalia stays in the air. We have also invested in protecting and creating jobs in Italy," Hogan added.