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Etihad Airways

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Etihad Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 2003
Hubs Abu Dhabi International Airport
Frequent-flyer program Etihad Guest
Airport lounge Etihad Premium Lounge
Fleet size 122
Destinations 90
Company slogan
  • From Abu Dhabi to the World
  • The World Is Our Home, You Are Our Guest
  • Flying Reimagined
Parent company Etihad Aviation Group
Headquarters Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates[1]
Key people
  • Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei (Chairman)
  • James Hogan (CEO)
Revenue US$ 7.6 billion (2014)[2]

19,691 (Oct. 2015)[3]

25,867 (Including Subsidiaries, Oct. 2015)[3]
Website etihad.com

Etihad Airways (Arabic sharikat alittid liayarn) is a flag carrier and the second-largest airline of the United Arab Emirates (after Emirates). Its head office is in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, near Abu Dhabi International Airport (OMAA - ICAO). Etihad commenced operations in November 2003.[4]

The airline operates more than 1,000 flights per week to over 120 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, with a fleet of 122 Airbus and Boeing aircraft as of March 2016. In 2014, Etihad carried 14.8 million passengers, a 22.3% increase from the previous year,[5] delivering revenues of US$7.6 billion and net profits of US$73 million. Etihad Airways is the third largest airline in the Middle East and it is the second largest airline in the UAE, after the Dubai-based airline Emirates. Its main base is Abu Dhabi International Airport.[6]

In addition to its core activity of passenger transportation, Etihad also operates Etihad Holidays and Etihad Cargo.[4] Etihad established its own airline alliance, Etihad Airways Partners, in 2015,[7] which includes Alitalia, Jet Airways, Air Berlin, Niki, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Etihad Regional. Almost every participant airline has a considerable stake of the airline owned by Etihad. Booking for these airlines is consolidated under one network. With the exception of Niki, Etihad Airways holds minority equity investments in the participating airlines along with Virgin Australia which is not officially listed as Etihad Airways Partners.


The name Etihad is an informal romanization of ittid, which means 'union', referring to the United Arab Emirates where the airline is based.[8]


Etihad Airways was established as the second flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates in July 2003 by Royal (Amiri) Decree issued by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It started with an initial paid-up capital of AED500 million. Services were launched with a ceremonial flight to Al Ain on 5 November 2003. On 12 November 2003, Etihad commenced commercial operations with the launch of services to Beirut. Prior to the establishment of Etihad, Gulf Air was the airline which was based at Abu Dhabi International Airport and was also co-owned by Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman.

In June 2004, the airline made an US$8-billion aircraft order for five Boeing 777-300ERs and 24 Airbus aircraft, including four A380-800s. Their first A380 was delivered in December 2014.[9]

The airline announced what was the largest aircraft order in commercial aviation history at the Farnborough Airshow in 2008, for up to 205 aircraft100 firm orders, 55 options and 50 purchase rights.

As of February 2013, the airline operates passenger and cargo services to 86 destinations around the world from its home base in Abu Dhabi.

Etihad reported its first full-year net profit in 2011, of US$14 million, in line with the strategic plan announced by CEO James Hogan in 2006.[10]

In December 2011, Etihad announced it had taken a 29.21% stake in Air Berlin,[11] Europe's sixth largest airline, and James Hogan was appointed Vice Chairman. It followed this up with minority stakes in other airlinesAir Seychelles (40%),[12] Aer Lingus (2.987%),[13] Virgin Australia (10%).[14] On August 1, 2013, the President of the company, James Hogan, signed a deal with Aleksandar Vui, First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, in Belgrade, giving Etihad a 49% stake in the Serbian national carrier Jat Airways/Air Serbia.[15] The Serbian Government retained 51% of the shares. The new company is named Air Serbia.[16]

In 2012, Etihad carried 10.3 million passengers, a 23% increase on the previous year.[17]

At the 2013 Dubai Airshow, Etihad announced that it was acquiring a 33.3% stake in the Swiss carrier Darwin Airline. Darwin was rebranded as Etihad Regional from March 2014.[18]

On August 1, 2014, Etihad agreed to take a 49% stake in the Italian flag carrier Alitalia for an estimated 560 million. The deal was closed on August 8, 2014.[19] On 1 January 2015, Alitalia-CAI formally passed its operations to Alitalia-SAI, a new entity owned 49% by Etihad and 51% by the Alitalia-CAI shareholders.[20]

In August 2014, the company announced that it was suspending its flights to/from Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, in the wake of U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[21]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Head office[edit]

Etihad has its head office, in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi,[22] near Abu Dhabi International Airport.[23] Etihad spent 183.6 million UAE dirhams ($50 million USD) in 2007 to arrange to have its new head office and training center built. The new head office was scheduled to be finished by the end of 2007.[24]


Etihad is governed by a board of directors chaired by HH Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, HH Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan being the vice chairman and operates in terms of its founding legislation and the Article of Association of the Company. The Board consists of seven independent non-executive members and has two sub-committees, being an Executive Committee and an Audit Committee, each with its own charter and chairman.

Other members of the board include: Mohammed Mubarak Fadel Al Mazrouei, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, Hamad Abdullah Al Shamsi, Khalifa Sultan Al Suwaidi and George Cheaib.[25]

The airline is led by James Hogan (formerly CEO of Gulf Air) who was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer on 10 September 2006.

Etihad Airways partners[edit]

One of the pillars of Etihad's operation is its equity alliance, which is composed of:[26]

Business trends[edit]

The key trends for Etihad Airways since it started trading in November 2003 are shown below (as at years ending 31 December):

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Turnover (AEDb) 5.6 9.1 8.4 10.9 15.0
Turnover (US$b) 4.1 4.8 6.1 7.6
Profits* (EBITDAR) (US$m) n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 753 979 1,139
Profits* (EBIT) (US$m) n/a n/a n/a n/a 137 170 n/a 257
Number of employees 1,761 2,116 3,468 5,563 7,058 7,828 7,855 9,038 10,656 13,535 17,712
Number of passengers (m) <0.1 0.3 1.0 2.8 4.6 6.0 6.3 7.1 8.3 10.2 11.5 14.8
Passenger load factor (%) 70 75 74 74 75.8 78.2 78 79.2
Cargo carried (000s tonnes) 115 202 263 310 368 486 569
Number of aircraft (at year end) 6 12 22 37 42 52 57 64 70 89 110
Notes/sources [27] [27] [28][29] [29] [30] [31] [32] [2][33]

Profits* - earlier profit/loss figures do not appear to have ever been published; the company announced, however, that it became profitable as from 2011.[34]

Corporate sponsorship[edit]

Event and organisations[edit]

  • On 18 December 2007 Etihad announced that they would become the title sponsor for the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to be held on Yas Island, the F1 logo and the words "Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix" appeared on the aircraft for one month before the race.[35]
  • In October 2008, it was announced that Etihad would take over sponsorship of the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne (previously known as the Telstra Dome). The name change to Etihad Stadium took effect on 1 March 2009.
  • On 19 March 2008 it was announced that Etihad Airways would become a main sponsor for the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship from 2008 to 2010, which was later extended until 2012. On 12 April 2012, the GAA signed a new five-year sponsorship deal with Etihad.[36]
  • On 25 March 2014, Etihad announced a partnership with Major League Soccer to become the Official Airline Partner of MLS, in a multi-year deal.[37]

Current team sponsorship deals[edit]

Team Sport Located Commenced sponsorship Notes
Harlequins F.C. Rugby Union London, United Kingdom 30 July 2007 The sponsorship also includes renaming the East Stand at the Twickenham Stoop (the home of Harlequins) to the Etihad Stand. Etihad's logo is painted on the roof of the stand which is under the flight path to London Heathrow Airport.[38] Harlequins were Aviva Premiership champions after winning the 201112 season
Harlequins Rugby League Rugby League London, United Kingdom 30 July 2007 The sponsorship also includes renaming the East Stand at the Twickenham Stoop (the home of Harlequins) to the Etihad Stand. Etihad's logo is painted on the roof of the stand which is under the flight path to London Heathrow Airport.[39]
Manchester City FC Association Football Manchester, United Kingdom May 2009 Part of the deal now includes the renaming of Manchester City's stadium to the "Etihad Stadium". Manchester City were the Premier League champions for the 20112012 season and the 20132014 season.
Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Maranello, Italy 2008 For the 2007 season, Etihad was one of the title sponsors for the Etihad Aldar Spyker F1 Team. Because the team was purchased by the chairman of another airline (Vijay Mallya, of Kingfisher Airlines), Etihad switched to Scuderia Ferrari.
Anorthosis Famagusta FC Association Football Larnaca, Cyprus November 2013 Cyprus First Division side
Melbourne City FC Association Football Melbourne, Australia May 2014 Home kit resembles that of sister club Manchester City.
New York City FC Association Football New York, NY, United States of America 13 November 2014 Home kit resembles that of sister club Manchester City.
Washington Wizards Basketball Washington D.C, United States of America 11 May 2015 NBA Subsidiary of Monumental Sports and Entertainment
Washington Capitals Ice Hockey Washington D.C, United States of America 11 May 2015 NHL Subsidiary of Monumental Sports and Entertainment
Washington Mystics Basketball Washington D.C, United States of America 11 May 2015 WNBA Subsidiary of Monumental Sports and Entertainment.


  • Etihad is a sponsor of UAE sports clubs, including the Abu Dhabi Rugby Union Football Club, the Abu Dhabi International Sailing School and the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club (ADIMSC), as well as the Al-Jazira Club.
Awards and recognitions[edit]

Etihad Airways has received over 30 awards since its inauguration in 2003. It has won the World Travel Awards (WTA) designation for having the best Business Class in the world in 2009. In November 2009 Etihad Airways won the "World's Leading Airline" award at the World Travel Awards in London. In November 2013, Etihad Airways won the "World's Leading Airline - First Class 2013" World Travel Awards.

In 2010, Etihad Airways won the "World"s Best First Class' award by Skytrax at Hamburg. Etihad also received awards for "Best First Class catering" and "Best First Class Seat" as well. Etihad was awarded the World's Leading Airline in 2009,[40] 2010,[41] 2011[42] and 2012[43] by the World Travel Awards.

In 2013, Etihad Airways received all three awards in the First Class Category at the 2013 Skytrax World Airline Awards "Best First Class", "Best First Class Seats" and "Best First Class Catering".[44]

On 9 June 2014 Etihad announced that it would be withdrawing from Skytrax.[45]

Despite being withdrawn from Skytrax, Etihad Airways receives 6th place on "The world's Top 10 Airlines of 2015" by Skytrax http://www.worldairlineawards.com/Awards/worlds_best_airline.html

On December 3rd, 2015 at an A380 launch event in New York City it was announced that Etihad had won Air Transport World's 2016 Airline of the Year.[46]


Etihad Cargo, formerly Etihad Crystal Cargo, operates three Boeing B777F, one Boeing 747-400F (operated by Atlas Air in Etihad Colors), one Boeing 747-8F (also operated by Atlas Air in Etihad Colors) and three Airbus A330-200F. Etihad Cargo has one additional Airbus A330-200F freighter scheduled for delivery in 2014.

Etihad Cargo delivered 368,000 tonnes of cargo in 2012, a tonnage growth of 19 per cent on the back of a capacity increase of 14 per cent in available tonnage kilometres. Etihads new facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport will be equipped to handle more than 500,000 tonnes annually.[47]

The carrier refreshed its brand image in June 2012 dropping the "Crystal" part, with full Etihad Cargo title now applied billboard style.


As of September 2013, Etihad serves 116 passenger and cargo destinations across Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australasia from its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport.[49] Etihad Airways, along with Air China, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Korean Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and United Airlines, is one of the few carriers to have services to all six inhabited continents.[50][51]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Etihad Airways has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (as of January 2015):[49]

Additionally, Etihad Airways has a codeshare partnership with French Railways SNCF.[76]


The Etihad Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of March 5th, 2016):[77][78][79][80][81]

Etihad Airways Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
F C Y Total
Airbus A319-100 2 16 90 106
Airbus A320-200 23 18 16 120 136
162 162
Airbus A320neo 10[82] TBA
Airbus A321-200 10 16 158 174
Airbus A321neo 26[82] TBA
Airbus A330-200 21 22 240 262 Two operated for Air Seychelles; one leased from Jet Airways.
Airbus A330-300 6 8 32 191 231
Airbus A340-500 3 12 28 200 240
Airbus A340-600 7 8[83] 32 276 316
Airbus A350-900 40[82] TBA Deliveries begin in 2016.
Airbus A350-1000 22 15 TBA Deliveries begin in 2017.[84][85]
Airbus A380-800 6 4 5 11 1 70 417 498
Boeing 777-200LR 5 8 40 189 237
Boeing 777-300ER 25 12 28 384 412
40 340 380
8 40 280 328
8 30 308 346 Six leased from Jet Airways.
Boeing 777-8 8[86] TBA
Boeing 777-9 17[86] TBA
Boeing 787-9 5 36 25 8 28 199 235
Boeing 787-10 30[86] 12 TBA
Etihad Cargo Fleet
Airbus A330-200F 4 1[87] 64,000 kg Launch customer.
Boeing 747-400F 1 113,000 kg Leased from Atlas Air.
Boeing 747-8F 1 134,000 kg
Boeing 777F 5 1[86][88] 102,870 kg To be delivered in 2016.
Total 124 195 87
  • ^1 First class includes one First Residence suite that can seat up to two passengers, and nine First Apartment suites (each can seat only one passenger).
Previously operated[edit]

Etihad Airways operated the following aircraft in the past:[89]

Fleet history
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A300-600RF 2005 2010 All leased from Islandsflug.
Airbus A310-300F 2005 2006
Airbus A340-300 2003 2008
Boeing 767-300ER 2004 2006


Etihad Airways are introducing new cabins in December 2014. Here are the old and new cabins.

Previous cabins (until December 2014)[edit]

Etihad has 3 cabins, Diamond First Class, Pearl Business Class and Coral Economy Class.[90]

Diamond First Class

Etihad's existing First Class cabin, labelled "Diamond First Class", features a perfectly flat, 6 ft 8 inch bed, in its own private suite. Their suites include a personal mini-bar and wardrobe, in-built massage and a 23-inch widescreen television. There is a changing room on board, and passengers also have their own personal chef.

Pearl Business Class

There are two Business Class cabins - one that operates on widebody aircraft, and one that operates on narrowbody aircraft. Business Class on widebody aircraft offers a 6 ft 1 inch full flat bed, with finest dining and a 15-inch widescreen television. There is also an in-built massage included. On narrowbody aircraft, they have a seat with 49 inches of pitch.

Coral Economy Class

Economy Class on all aircraft offers a cradle recline and 32 to 34 inch seat pitch. All seats have 10.4 inch entertainment screens offer 675 hours of films and games.

Current cabins (from December 2014)[edit]

With the introduction of the Airbus A380s and Boeing 787-9s, new cabins were introduced, their names being: The Residence, The Apartments, First class suite (not A380), Business Studio and Economy Smart seat. The rest of the fleet will gradually be retrofitted with these cabins except for the Residence and Apartment cabins which will only appear on the Airbus A380s. The Residence is the only three-room suite in the sky when it is introduced in December 2014.[91][92]

The Residence (Airbus A380 only)

The Residence introduced on Airbus A380s, can accommodate one or two people, at a size of 125 sq ft. It will become the only three-room suite on a commercial jet, and features a living room, bedroom and bathroom. Some of the features include a 60.4 inch two-seater reclining sofa, 32 inch TV monitor, an ensuite shower and an 82 inch long, 47.5 inch wide double bed. It is said to be the most luxurious living space in the air.[92]

First Class Apartment (Airbus A380 only)

First Class on Airbus A380s was overhauled with the "First Class Apartments". There will be 9 in total, configured 1-1 across a single aisle, and take up a total area of 39 square feet. It will feature 30.3 inch wide reclining chair, a full length ottoman which can be transformed into a bed, a 24-inch TV monitor which can swing to align itself to the ottoman so that it can be viewed from the bed, a vanity cabinet and a chilled drinks bar with assorted drinks. In 2015, this class was named the world's best first class due to its luxurious innovation.[93]

First Class Suite (Boeing 787-9 only)

On the other hand, Boeing 787-9s feature eight First Class suites to accommodate the narrower aircraft. The service includes a 26-inch-wide reclining lounge chair (which converts into an 80.5 inch fully flat bed), dining table and a 24-inch TV monitor. There is a personal wardrobe, along with total privacy with high sliding doors.[94]

Business Studio

The "Business Studio" is on both models, with 70 seats on the Airbus A380s and 28 on the Boeing 787-9s. The studio seats include a 22-inch-wide reclining chair, which converts into a fully flat bed, and an 18-inch TV monitor.[95]

Economy Smart Seat

Economy Smart seats feature a 17-to-19-inch-wide seat, with a 31-to-33-inch pitch and 6-inch recline. There is also an 11-inch touch screen fitted with Etihad's entertainment system. A fixed wing would be in place to allow passengers to rest upon. There are 417 Smart Seats on the A380 in a 3-4-3 configuration and there are 199 Smart Seats in the B787, in a 3-3-3 configuration.[96]

New livery[edit]

Beginning with the Airbus A380s and Boeing 787-9s, Etihad Airways introduced a new livery, which will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet over the next three years from 2014-2017. The new livery is called "Facets of Abu Dhabi", which reflects the culture and geography of Abu Dhabi. One Boeing 777 (registry A6-LRE) used for their Los Angeles-Abu Dhabi route has been painted with the livery for the film Fast and Furious 7.

In-flight entertainment[edit]

Etihad uses both the Panasonic eX2 and the Thales TopSeries i5000[97] in-flight entertainment system with AVOD (audio-video on demand) system on its new long-range aircraft and on some of its new A320-200 aircraft. Etihad brand this system as the "E-box". International destination fleets have a Plug-And-Play system which works on USB technology, that allow passengers to play their own audio, video and picture media. The Airbus A330s, Airbus A340s, Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 777-300ER all have in-flight telephone facility.

Etihad has signed a new 10-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation for the provision of in-flight entertainment which will include broadband internet and live TV.[98]

Loyalty programme[edit]

Etihad Guest is the airline's frequent flyer program, launched on 30 August 2006. It offers a discount web shop for loyalty program members.

Etihad is not part of any airline alliance, but has a partnership agreement with:

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 15 November 2001 a new A340-600 due for delivery to Etihad Airways was damaged beyond repair during ground testing at Airbus' facilities at Toulouse Blagnac International Airport. During a pre-delivery engine test, multiple safety checks had been disabled, leading to the non-chocked aircraft accelerating to 31 knots (57 km/h) and colliding with a concrete blast deflection wall. Severe damage was inflicted on the aircraft and nine people on board were injured, four of them seriously. The right wing, tail, and left engines made contact with the ground or wall, leaving the forward section of the aircraft elevated several meters and the cockpit broken off. The aircraft was written off and was later used at Virgin Atlantic's cabin crew training facility in Crawley.

See also[edit]


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