Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan has emphasised the importance of consumer choice and innovation as the fundamental drivers of competition in the international airline industry.
Mr Hogan spoke before an audience of about 4,000 attendees at the 2015 Global Business Travel Association Convention in Orlando, Florida.
In a discussion, which focused on emerging opportunities and challenges in the global aviation industry, Mr Hogan noted that business and leisure travellers alike are demanding, and should rightly expect choices in network, schedules, product and services, loyalty rewards, convenience, and price.
“What we bring to the market is competition, we bring fantastic choice in regard to product and services,” Mr Hogan told the audience. “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.”
Mr Hogan highlighted the impact of rapidly growing markets like China, India and Southeast Asia on international traffic flows and traditional international hubs. He also emphasised Etihad’s unique approach to constantly innovating in order to better serve customers.
“Innovation – one of the greatest things about travel in this era is the consumer can find out so much about your business. 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,” he said.
Mr Hogan also discussed Etihad’s business model, which extends the airline’s organic growth through codeshare partnerships and equity investments in key global airlines, including airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Aer Lingus, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia and Swiss-based Darwin Airline. The airline’s hub in Abu Dhabi now serves as a gateway between the Middle East, Asia and Australia and destinations in Europe and America.
Etihad will inaugurate its first A380 service between New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport and Abu Dhabi on December 1. In the US, the Business Studios are already available to travellers who fly from Washington’s Dulles International Airport to Abu Dhabi – and beyond.