15 Apr 2015 13:00
The President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, has met the European Commission Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc, to highlight the benefits which the airline delivers to European consumers, outline the multi-billion euro contribution which it makes to European economies, and reinforce the risks associated with rising protectionist sentiment.
Mr Hogan said aviation was a global industry, not a
regional business, and that any moves to impede foreign carrier access and
limit competition would not just damage Etihad Airways and its European
partners, but would also reverberate throughout the air transport industry, and
potentially undermine international confidence in Europe’s commitment to global
trade and investment.
He said research conducted by Oxford Economics had
verified that in 2014, Etihad Airways’ core operations in the European Union
contributed a total of US$1 billion to the combined GDP of the 28 EU member
nations and supported more than 11,000 jobs. Additionally, the airline’s 2014
capital spending on aircraft and other aviation equipment contributed US$2.6
billion to the EU28 GDP, and supported more than 28,100 jobs.
The research also showed that during the past decade, the
airline’s operations contributed approximately US$6.1 billion to the EU28 GDP,
while its capital spending on aircraft and aviation equipment exceeded US$11
Additional economic benefits were also calculated based
on passenger and freight flows as a result of expanded flight connectivity. In
2014, connectivity benefits to the EU28 GDP were estimated at US$1.3 billion,
while the amount for the past decade was US$5 billion.
Mr Hogan said: “Etihad Airways is not just another
foreign airline flying to Europe to poach local traffic. We are a sophisticated partner to and
investor in Europe for long-term mutual benefit, contributing billions of euros
every year to EU and non-EU economies, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and
both maintaining and expanding choice for air travellers to and from Europe.
Through our own flights, our 21 European codeshare partnerships and our
minority investments in five European airlines, we are adding value to Europe
in a way that no other foreign airline is.
“In 2014 alone we carried 3.3 million passengers to
and from EU economies, connecting 618,000 travellers onto flights by our EU
codeshare partners, and accommodating 368,000 of their passengers on our
“We also operate one-stop services between Europe and
19 destinations not served by any EU carriers. And we provide codeshare access
to many of these markets for European airlines, including connections to
Australia for 11 carriers, five of which ceased operating their own services on
these routes prior to us entering the market.
“Etihad Airways is committed to Europe. But growing resistance to us
from a handful of protectionist competitors could have unintended consequences
well beyond limiting our development. If our growth is curtailed or our
investments in airlines are compromised, the real damage will be to Europe in
lost jobs, lost flight connectivity, lost investment in local and national
economies and lost consumer choice.”