So many Etihad planes seemed shockingly empty during the Gulf ‘high season; in November I was surprised. Plus the Abu Dhabi airport suddenly has no growth in passengers numbers anymore. Something is off in Etihad (and Emirates) land.
Etihad has access to some of the worlds most generous funding but the company has made some surprising announcements.
Etihad to lay off ‘big numbers’ of corporate staff
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier, which has expanded its interests rapidly in recent years, says that a company restructuring will “result in a measured reduction of headcount in some parts of the business.”
A spokesman said the airline was “operating in an increasingly competitive landscape, against a backdrop of weakened global economic conditions. It’s a challenging time.”
If the layoffs would be small (or just ‘natural attrition’ there would be no need to talk much about it.
Even more surprising after all the back and forth deal over Air Berlin and their short-haul operation it now seems that Etihad wants to get rid of the whole ‘going concern’ that is called ‘Air Berlin’.
A report in Germany’s leading business daily, “Handelsblatt,” on Monday said that German federal and state governments had approved a plan for Germany’s leading airline, Lufthansa, to take over the country’s second-biggest, Air Berlin.
Thomas Winkelmann’s appointment as Air Berlin’s new CEO, who has been assigned the task of managing the integration of Air Berlin into Lufthansa, was decided by agreement between Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr and Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan. Etihad currently owns 30 percent of Air Berlin, and has been keeping the financially troubled German carrier flying by providing financing.
I have been skeptical that Air Berlin will survive and Lufthansa will have a unique opportunity to kill any remaining ‘legacy airline competition’ with this move.