“Middle East hubs and airlines are leading the way to confront and overcome the serious challenges to global aviation growth and stability and bring about positive change in the industry.”
That was the message given by James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive, in his keynote address to delegates at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Passenger Symposium taking place in Abu Dhabi.
He spoke in depth about the positive impact the Middle East is having on the global economy and how the focus is shifting from the traditional, more established markets to the emerging economic powerhouses in the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa. “In an uncertain world,” he said, “the Middle East is one of the ‘strong pockets’ for growth in aviation.”
In addition to capitalising on its strategic geographical location, James Hogan explained that the Middle East region works because of a new approach – highlighting Abu Dhabi as a prime example of a new aviation hub.
“There’s an unprecedented focus on service, we are able to work from a new cost control template and there’s no ‘legacy’ airline baggage,” he said.
He added: “The connectivity provided by Etihad Airways is key to Abu Dhabi’s regional competitiveness and we relish our integral role in inbound tourism and the promotion of Abu Dhabi as a leading global destination.
“Abu Dhabi has a growing, diversifying economy – backed by a Government with the vision, the will and ability to invest in the future.
“The double-digit growth we are seeing is largely supported by the government’s vision for the future which is backed by considerable investment in tourism infrastructure and Abu Dhabi’s willingness to embrace best practice and knowledge in other key areas including manufacturing, education and health.
“Our blueprint for the future is shaped by our commitment to continue our integral and definitive role in the prodigious growth and economic development in the UAE.”
Hogan also described the Etihad Airways journey as one of the fastest-growing airlines in aviation history. In less than 10 years since the airline began operations in November 2003, the company has grown to 10,000 employees from 125 nationalities, with 67 aircraft and 86 direct destinations and 10 million passengers.