Etihad Airways is a flag airline of the United Arab Emirates. It is also the second-largest carrier of the UAE. Etihad opened its doors for business in November 2003.Its head office is in Abu Dhabi was constructed in 2007, for $50 million along with a training center.
Etihad Airways has been presented with over 30 awards since its initiation in 2003. It has won the World Travel Awards (WTA) in 2009 for having the best Business Class in the world, as well as the “World’s Leading Airline” in London. In 2013, Etihad Airways won the “World’s Leading Airline” by WTA for five consecutive years starting from 2009 to 2013.
Skytrax awarded Etihad Airways won the “World’s Best First Class’ award, the “Best First Class catering” award and the”Best First Class Seat” award in 2010. In 2013, Ethihad was awarded by Skytrax as the “Best First Class”, “Best First Class Seats” and “Best First Class Catering” awards.
Like global airline alliances like Star Alliance and Skyteam, Etihad Airways has established its own airline alliance in 2015 and named it Etihad Airways Partners. The alliance includes Alitalia, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Air Berlin, Niki, Jet Airways and Etihad Regional, that is a Swiss domestic carrier. Reservations for these airlines are done under one umbrella, giving more options to the passenger and lower flying costs. Etihad also operates Etihad Holidays for the vacationing and Etihad Cargo for the shipment. Etihad Airways is among the few airlines that have been graced the title of 5-star airlines by rated by Skytrax.
While Emirates is a huge air travel conglomerate that has seized and dominated air businesses under its brand in many regions of the world, by either fairly outmanoeuvring its competitors or going into lucrative business unions with them, Etihad’s business structure allows the company to buy influencing stakes of the competitor airlines in a specific region. While Emirates has been constantly refused to service Germans airports, due to a fear and lobbying by Lufthansa, arguing that Emirates might take over and monopolize the entire business eventually, Etihad now has a minority but influential share in Berlin Air which allows it to extend its services into Germany through its alliance with Berlin Air.
In July 2003 Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan the ruler of the UAE issued a Royal (Amiri) Decree to establish the airline. While Dubai, has an airline of its own (Emirates), the Sheikh wanted Abu Dhabi to make its own mark on the airline industry of the world. In November 2003, Etihad commenced commercial flight operations with a flight to Beirut from Abu Dhabi.
In June 2004, Etihad placed an order for five Boeing 777-300ERs and 24 Airbus aircraft, including four Airbus A380s for $8 billion. The world roared in appreciation and disbelief as Etihad announced an order of 205 aircrafts at Farnborough Airshow in 2008. It was the largest aircraft order in commercial aviation history.
In December 2011, Etihad purchased 29.21% of Berlin Air, which is the sixth largest European Airline and a new chairman was appointed for the German airline. Etihad continued to buy minority stakes in other airlines as well that included Air Seychelles’ 40% shares, Aer Lingus’ 2.987% shares and Virgin Australia’s 10% shares. In August 2013, Etihad bought a 49% stake in the Serbian national airline Jat Airways. The company name was rebranded and called Air Serbia. In December 2013, Etihad bought 24% of the stakes of Jet Airways which is an Indian carrier. Furthermore at the Dubai Air Show in 2013, Etihad Airways bought 33.3% shares of Darwin Air, which is a Swiss Carrier and named it Etihad regional. It also acquired 49% stake in Alitalia, an Italian airline for €560 million.
The carrier flies more than 1,000 flights per week to over 120 destinations in the Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, Middle East and the Americas. As of 2017, Etihad has a fleet of 126 Airbus and Boeing aircrafts.