The CEO of Etihad Airways has urged European governments and airlines to be more open to investment from outside the bloc. Speaking at an EU conference on air transport competitiveness, James Hogan argued that the aviation sector was global, not regional and that Etihad wanted to expand its stake in European airlines “for mutual gain”.
“Consolidation of airlines is critical to sustainable air services,” he said. “External investment is not a threat. It is an opportunity to strengthen airlines, and to support employment and economic growth.”
Etihad currently holds minority stakes in airberlin, Aer Lingus and Air Serbia, has announced its intention to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Alitalia.
Hogan argued that the biggest problems facing the European sector industry were not competition with the gulf carriers, but issues such as congestion from under-investment in airports and ATM, high operating and labour costs and inconsistent taxes.