Normally, a European airline flying five times a week to New York is no big deal. But this one is different.
Delta, United, and American wanted the U.S. State Department to take unprecedented action against Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways. But the government didn't opt for a brash approach. This may well be the beginning of the end of the complaints.
Now it's Europe's turn to bang the drum against unfair competition by the Persian Gulf carriers.
With Etihad's equity and codeshare partners contributing $1.4 billion in sales last year as their roles are growing, Etihad had to put in place a new structure to effectively manage a growing business.
The goal is to make airline lifestyle brands relatable, likable, insidery, and envy-inducing badges of honor. Fashion and other style elements are the type of brand associations which make that connection happen. Plus: Women make key travel decisions for themselves and their families.
Gourmet meals for first-class and business-class flyers are nothing new, but these airlines are taking their offerings to new heights in an effort to win over hungry, big-spending, and food-minded flyers.
Etihad has had the advantage of a clean slate to work on and--some argue--a generous budget to work with. But, when we look back at airline history, other airlines also had these advantages at some point or other. What makes Etihad unique is how much it has done with those resources and opportunities to position and differentiate its brand--and how quickly it has accomplished these aims.
When airlines such as Delta and Etihad opt to make investments in partner airlines around the globe instead of making acquisitions, which can trigger regulatory hassles, the investor carriers are going to be subject to economic turmoil in partners' domestic markets. That just goes with the territory.
Consolidation and joint ventures in the airline sector are heating up. Earlier this week, Alaska Airlines announced it would acquire Virgin America and now, the ownership structure of Virgin Australia is up in the air. With Air New Zealand considering bowing out, is there an opening for current investors Singapore Air or Etihad to swoop in?
German politics have been playing havoc with Air Berlin-Etihad codeshares. Their domestic codeshares are still being held hostage.