Criticism of Gulf carriers 'concerning' – Etihad CEO

Etihad CEO: Hogan said that the Gulf carriers were taking advantage of technology via the purchase of brand new aircraft from Boeing and Airbus. (ITP Images)

Etihad CEO: Hogan said that the Gulf carriers were taking advantage of technology via the purchase of brand new aircraft from Boeing and Airbus. (ITP Images)

The CEO of Etihad Airways has waded into the war of words between European airlines and their Gulf peers by stating that the accusations are “concerning”.

“Aviation is a tough business impacted by cycles and certainly by a range of challenges. This week we have seen the European Union of Airlines claim that the Gulf carrier have been given too many free kicks and should be reined in,” James Hogan said in a speech during an Etihad Airways event in Dublin.

"We have a clear commercial mandate. We are changing the game of aviation, that’s the nature of any business cycle, and certainly we believe we should be allowed to compete and not be penalised," he added.

Hogan pointed out that the Gulf carriers were taking advantage of technology via the purchase of brand new aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, which are able to fly further and carry more people.

"This talk coming out that the Gulf carriers should be contained is very concerning," the Etihad CEO stated.

“I would argue that the only advantage I have is geography and I can’t argue about that, I didn’t make the world.”

Hogan’s remarks come amid recent comments from France and Canada accusing Dubai flag-carrier Emirates of receiving government subsidies and preferential treatment at its home hub.

On Monday, Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon called on other European airlines to help slow the growth of the Gulf carriers, which are attracting greater numbers of travellers through Middle Eastern hubs.

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark denied the accusation of preferential treatment over fuel bills.

“I have said 'you prove a subsidy and I will resign the next day'. It is completely wrong," Clark told Reuters.

Elsewhere, the UAE ambassador to Canada has expressed disappointment after the breakdown of five years worth over negotiations intended to offer more landing rights to the Gulf state’s carriers.

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: R Smith

Many people in my family recently traveled to India via the Middle east and some via european and american carriers. Hands down, the Middle eastern airlines, Etihad and Qatar, offered far better service, routes, and pricing versus American airlines or British Airways. The ones who flew on American Airlines complained about the small amount of legroom, poor service, and bad food and long layovers.
I flew from Chicago to Cochin with only one 3 hour stop in Abu Dhabi. It was a seamless transition and comfortable airport. In all previous years I had to take ORD-LHR-BOM- COK. The day I left is the day Heathrow shut down. Thankfully, there are no such problems in the middle east or any volcanos to worry about. I hope the middle east continues to expand its services and offer better connectivity to the world, especially to Asia.
I find it hard to believe that France would complain about ME carriers given the huge number of planes they buy from Airbus. I say they should switch to boeing!

Posted by: Russell James

My experience with Etihad has been a nightmare, I prefer European or American airlines because they understand the concept of customer service. Who cares if a plane is new if the service isn't there.

Posted by: Ex-Expat

Lets face it: The success of 'Arab' carriers is - if at all - a global success. Why? Because the management is mainly western based and the crews are international. Not talking about the technology and the maintenance...

Posted by: Tom

Emirates has done well but it is a combination of good fortune, a vision and experienced western management.

Posted by: A Scargill


Oh the bad Trade Unions , the same people that stopped employers sending children up chimneys and underage child labour and equal working rights for women , the same Trade Unions that put in legislation for people to stop getting killed and injured at work.

Now we wouldn't want that here would we , we'd choke on our Champers at Brunch..........!

Posted by: nick stavros

Are you kidding me? This is all about racism again masquerading in a business coat. When the Arabs are now succeeding in many endeavours and are winning against their Western counterparts, The West shouts foul. Oh no, it can't be because Arabs worked harder or were smarter, they must be cheating. I say live with it Losers.

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