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Partnerships More Important than Ever, Says Etihad CEO

In his keynote address to the Global Aerospace Summit, held as part of the Abu Dhabi Aviation and Aerospace Week, James Hogan, President and Chief Executive of Etihad Airways said partnerships are more important than ever in a global economy.

“To become a competitive global network carrier today is incredibly challenging,” Hogan said. “Partnerships allow us to compete effectively and give us scale and differentiation, as well as reducing cost and delivering major benefits, including operational cooperation, more consumer choice and competition, and job creation.”

Hogan highlighted the advantages to Etihad of having forged strategic partnerships through minority equity stakes in Alitalia, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, airberlin, Etihad Regional operated by Darwin Airline, Jet Airways, and Virgin Australia.

Aerospace Partners

Hogan also emphasised the value of partnerships forged with suppliers, maintenance organisations, and creatives.

Hogan believes it is through partnerships that businesses can best innovate and stay relevant. He highlighted to attendees that the UAE is developing into a hub that nurtures such partnerships and collaborations.

“In the UAE, we are seeing a rapidly expanding broad portfolio based on partnership in aerostructures manufacturing, engine and component financing, and maintenance, repair and overhaul,” he said. “The UAE is actively leveraging partnerships with the world’s biggest aviation players including Rolls-Royce, GE, Boeing and Airbus as it becomes a leading global player and centre of excellence.”

“The UAE aims to become one of the most innovative nations in the world within seven years and enter the Global Innovation Index top 20 by 2021,” James Hogan, President and CEO, Etihad Airways.

“Already, we are seeing the creation of a national culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship through partnership, with the private sector encouraged to establish
innovation and scientific research centres and adopt new technologies,” said Hogan.

“This is a philosophy we also hold dear at Etihad Airways. We know that a sustained innovation process is fundamental in a competitive environment such as aviation. It is absolutely central to providing remarkable products and services to our guests now and into the future.”

Partnership Reimagined

As examples of Etihad Airways’ work with partners to develop innovative products and services, Hogan pointed to the development program for the Reimagined aircraft interiors designs and The Residence—aviation’s first VIP jet private cabin introduced to a commercial Airbus A380 fleet.

The new interiors went through a unique development process. Three separate design and brand firms, Acumen, Factory Design, and Honour Branding worked together towards the common goal of creating a new flying experience as the Etihad Design Consortium (EDC).

Hogan also said collaboration helps Etihad Airways keep its commitment to the environment, as the airline works with partners on the production of sustainable aviation biofuels in the UAE under its BIOjet Abu Dhabi project—a collaboration with Boeing, Total, Takreer, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

“The industry’s licence to grow can only be granted if we find and implement ways to lower the carbon footprint of commercial aviation,” James Hogan, President and CEO, Etihad Airways.

The Appeal of Modern Thinking

Hogan told delegates that consumers increasingly expect to deal with “switched-on organisations,” which are open to new partnerships, in a new digital society.

“The world isn’t changing—it’s already changed,” he said. “Partnership and innovation are critical in a new globalised economy and success in an increasingly digital future depends on an ability to implement effective technologies and rethink strategy, culture and talent.”

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