Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas said Thursday at the Kappa Airlines Leaders Summit in Manchester, England, that Etihad Airways will announce its first-ever profit quarter.
The company improved the results of the first quarter of 2021 by “1 billion dollars.” [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] “The shift, the $1.25 billion shift on core operating profit. It puts us in a much better mood than we were at this time last year,” Douglas told BTN.
The momentum carrier was built in the second half of 2021, and especially in the fourth quarter, and was built in 2022, Douglas said, adding that March 2022’s load factors were better than March 2019. “That doesn’t mean we’re back in 2019—we most certainly don’t, but it’s a big indication.” For us we are seeing signs of recovery.”
Corporate travel, however, remains “significantly suppressed,” Douglas said. Some companies are just beginning to “go back and operate in a way that we know pre-pandemic, [though] Many still avoid it from a political point of view.”
What Etihad has seen taking off is a “significant increase” in demand for its business class cabin, but traditional business travelers aren’t the ones filling it up. Travelers are those who see value in cabin space and amenities from a wellness standpoint, who have little or no credit card debt and more available income, Douglas said.
“It may prove to be a trend,” Douglas added. As for travelers whether it is business means there will be more difficulty premium score seats after they return to the skies, “This is a class height problem,” he said. “It’s something that may or may not happen as business travel comes back. [Leisure customers] maybe i got [their pent-up travel] from their system. …but as the corporate travel market opens up, they will have new and exciting options to choose from.”
Douglas was referring to the new Business and Economy classes aboard the Airbus A350-1000, which went into service on March 31. Business class offers 44 studios with sliding doors for privacy. Each seat has direct aisle access and converts to a fully flat bed with 79 inches in length. Noise-canceling headphones for passengers, an 18.5-inch TV screen, a built-in wireless charging base, and Bluetooth headphone pairing are provided. The Economy Class A350 is equipped with 327 seats in a 3-3-3 arrangement, including 45 economy seats with an extra four inches of legroom.
“We’ve pitched for additional business, using roughly the same property, but you have your own convenient studio with private space, so I would suggest that many travelers from North America or Western Europe conclude that this is better first class for most people.” “But it’s commercially efficient in the way it’s designed and very sustainable. It’s deliberately designed for the premium corporate market and for people who want that level of comfort.”
Douglas said the company will receive four more A350s this year and has orders and options that could bring this total to 20. Other aircraft operated by Etihad are the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, of which 11 are planned “over time.” He added that these two aircraft “are the mainstay of our fleet now, and they are the most efficient aircraft in the world.” “They are game-changers in and of themselves.”
Douglas was also cited as another market leader in Etihad Airways’ recently launched Insightful Choices programme, through which corporate customers can make sustainable choices, including paying green surcharges and investing in offset solutions and sustainable aviation fuels. “Corporate environmental loyalty is going to be more important going forward than it ever has been,” he said, adding that nearly every corporate client said, “We can’t do that.” ”
Douglas said corporate clients have embraced sustainability options, because the alternative is to say, “I made a conscious decision not to.” “And if you have made a conscious decision not to, go back to [corporate social responsibility] The agenda as a legal person, it is possible it has been subjected to further scrutiny. So it has been very well received. What companies like about it is that it is simple and easy to understand. Quite frankly, what we see in this is another way to draw attention to the way that everyone can contribute to this. The Etihad Guest loyalty program is an essential component of the way we operate our business. But we are now seeing even a bigger bridge in the greenery.”