Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan sees a “strong fit” between the Alitalia and Air Berlin networks in the northern part of Italy.
Speaking at the carrier’s financial roadshow in London today, Hogan described the Italian market as huge.
He says Etihad is very focused on restructuring through equity partnerships to attain sustainable profitability.
“This is a long game; we have not invested in these airlines for 12 months,” says Hogan. “If we do step in Alitalia, it will be similar to our track record with other investments. One criteria is network and whether there is no overlap. For instance, if we do Air Berlin, how we can integrate Alitalia and tackle the north of Italy, where they used to be strong but now Lufthansa is strong in that space; how do we then overlay Air France-KLM to strengthen.
“If you overlay the Etihad network coming out of Europe to Abu Dhabi to serve the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia and Australia, we will be formidable."