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A new airline offering competitive choice to many markets

As a national airline starting decades after many of our competitors, we’ve built our business on one simple formula: incredible customer service, delivered on modern new aircraft, with world-leading products, at competitive prices, on the routes people want to fly.

The opportunity

Route map screenshot

There were three key factors behind the decision to found Etihad Airways – all to do with opportunity:

Abu Dhabi’s geographic position - with more than one billion people within a three hour radius of our hub.


New trade and travel patterns - thanks to the ‘New Silk Road’ and emerging economies in the Asia, Africa and South America.

New aircraft technology - which means that Abu Dhabi is one flight away from almost any city in the world.

Investing to compete

Etihad Airways A380 aircraft

To have any chance of success, Etihad Airways had to achieve a size and scale that could compete against the networks of airlines that had not only been operating for years, but had benefited from decades of government investment and infrastructure support.

Our airline was starting decades after our major competitors – the legacy European airlines, the legacy Asian carriers and the other Gulf airlines.

To catch up on the many decades head-start held by those airlines would take a bold strategy and significant investment. There is a very high cost of entry to become a serious competitor in long haul hub-and-spoke air travel.

The airline industry is capital-intensive and requires significant investment in the obvious items of aircraft and engines; but one which also requires heavy investment in the less obvious items: people, training, technology, and infrastructure – everything had to be built from scratch.

Delivering choice

Family at the airport
  • Serving 14.8 million guests
  • Reaching 111 destinations directly
  • Serving >400 codeshare destinations
  • On many routes, we are a new entrant against existing competitors: we try harder
  • On routes we launch, our entry leads to more travellers: opening up new direct or one-stop routes across the world