James Hogan, Chief Executive of Etihad Airways, was in ebullient mood when he flew into Dublin this week. He said that he was very happy with the Dublin to Abu Dhabi route, which is performing well with a load factor of more than 85% – despite the arrival of rival Gulf carrier Emirates into the Irish market. Hogan also expressed his satisfaction with the GAA All Ireland Hurling Championship and felt that it had given Etihad great brand identification throughout the island of Ireland.
He repeated that Etihad loves travel agents and revealed that more than 70% of business comes from travel agents.
On the question of going double daily, this will happen in 2016, when the airline takes delivery of the new B-787 Dreamliner, which will operate on the Irish route in a two-class configuration of Business and Economy.
He declined to answer any questions whatsoever about Aer Lingus, but did reveal that the new codeshare with Aer Lingus had delivered 500 additional passengers in the first month.
Etihad continues to increase the number of Irish employees, with 24 staff in Ireland and 61 Irish cabin crew based in Abu Dhabi.