Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan stated he still expects the airline to break even this year, despite the civil unrest spreading across the Middle East and rising price of fuel (The Australian, 28-Feb-2011). Mr Hogan stated the airline has fuel hedging systems in place, fuel surcharges have been introduced to offset rising fuel costs and he is looking at further cost control measures. The airline is 75% hedged for fuel in 2011 at just over USD80 per barrel. Yields, load factors and costs are trending in the right direction, according to the CEO.
Etihad still on track to break even despite recent headwinds
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Lufthansa and Etihad: equity tie up could further align mutual strategy, but marriage unlikely
Greater cooperation between Lufthansa and Etihad reflects their local and global challenges growing in quantity and complexity. Contact between the two has led to speculation that the partnership could radically expand to include an equity tie up, with rumoured merger talks.
Their initial Dec-2016 codeshare announcement was, in practical terms, small but showed the possibility, as they stated, to expand cooperation. However, it would be a leap to go from their handful of codeshares to a 17-Jan-2017 article from Italian daily newspaper Il Messaggero that Etihad could invest in Lufthansa on the way to a possible merger between the two. A subsequent denial in a Reuters story that "A financial stake is out of the question at the moment", does little to dispel the rumour. Were it not for the last three words of that statement the rumour would lack credibility.
There is certainly logic for a deeper partnership - and the two have danced this waltz before. Equity involvement from airlines can cement partnerships, add to board influence and partially allow one side to gain financially from any matter it feels it is compromising away. Nevertheless, there are obstacles to a full blown merger, and even to Etihad's taking a 30% to 40% stake. A marriage between the new bedfellows does not seem an immediate prospect. Nonetheless the logic is there for a move; and the mere fact of a potential move is sufficient to rock the equilibrium.
Philippine Airlines may cut Middle East capacity and network, and end Etihad partnership
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is considering reducing capacity to the Middle East in 2017 while expanding in several other international markets, including Australia, China and the US. Yields in all seven of the group’s Middle East markets – all of which have been launched over the last three years – have been impacted by intensifying competition and weaker outbound demand.
PAL could suspend services to Abu Dhabi and terminate its partnership with Etihad. The airline group has not benefitted significantly from its Etihad codeshare, and may be better off partnering with another airline.
However, PAL is keen to continue growing its international operation. PAL is about to add capacity to the US using two additional 777-300ERs, and plans to add capacity to Australia in late 2017 following delivery of its first batch of A321neoLRs. New destinations in Europe and the US are under consideration for 2018, using its new A350-900 fleet.