A Middle East success story
Both carriers have joined the ranks of the market leaders in aviation after having been just a few decades in the air. A remarkable success story of two airlines whose main bases are just over
100 km from each other.
Passenger and cargo numbers have grown steadily over the past 30 years ensuring that both airlines have considerably increased their passenger and cargo fleets and have become serious competitors
to the other big players. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports are not what one would see as being typical point-to-point destinations. A large percentage of the passengers and cargo carried on EY
and EK flights is transit traffic to other destinations served from AUH and DXB.
Emirates, including Emirates SkyCargo started services back in 1985, whereas Etihad Airways came on line at the end of 2003 and Etihad Cargo, or Etihad Crystal Cargo as it was called then,
started up with cargo being carried in the passenger fleet belly holds and then came the introduction of the Airbus A330F and B777F fleets.
Things had been going well for both carriers, but some industry experts tell us that there is far too much capacity for passenger and cargo fleets in AUH and DXB. A saturation some say, which can
only lead to lower yields as competitors such as Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines who operate in the same region with the same strategies as EK and EY, become more of a danger.
Would a fusion make sense?
It might not yet have to come to the point where both carriers become one.
Both operate simultaneously on more or less the same routes, have a fleet composition which is almost identical, use their hubs as transit points and operate freighter fleets which are
Etihad Airways has not been so lucky during the past decade with its investment plans boxed through by past management. Large sums were allocated to take shares in carriers such as Alitalia, Air
Berlin and others. Much of this money went out the window as those carriers did not deliver or went bankrupt. Emirates has been more prudent in this respect but operates a fleet which is almost
double in size of Etihad’s.