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Etihad chief blasts Qantas tactics
Source: BI-ME , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Fri July 20, 2012 12:26 pm

UAE. Etihad Airways chief James Hogan on Friday pledged the Abu Dhabi-based carrier will never seek control of Virgin Australia and hit out at Qantas's tactics to undermine his airline.

Etihad has built its holding in Virgin over recent months to 4.9% and on Thursday won approval from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board to boost the stake to 10%.

Virgin is Qantas's key domestic Australian competitor and last month the "Flying Kangaroo" reportedly warned the government it could "go under" if Etihad was allowed a greater stake in its rival.

Qantas executives fear Etihad, which is owned by the government of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, could bankroll a major attack on the lucrative domestic market via Virgin.

According to The Australian, Qantas has portrayed Etihad as a plaything for oil-rich sheiks in a lobbying campaign against it.

Hogan, who is Australian, said it was a Qantas ploy to distract from its own failings.

"It is a great shame the business (Qantas) has used this as a tactic," he told the newspaper.

"The UAE has a great relationship with Australia in trade, defence and in a whole range of areas.

"In other markets, we have not seen these sorts of reactions from national carriers. To see it being used to mask their own real issues is disappointing."

Qantas had no immediate response.

The airline is struggling with soaring fuel costs and worsening global conditions and recently warned its underlying profit before tax was expected to drop from Aus$552 million (US$574 million) last year to Aus$50-100 million.

The airline, which was privatised in 1995, is primarily losing money on its international routes and believes it is being undercut by state-owned operations such as Etihad and Singapore Airlines.

Hogan said Etihad's investment in Virgin was aimed at improving co-operation on routes and networks and to create better economies of scale, similar to what it was doing with Air Berlin and Ireland's Aer Lingus.

He told the newspaper any claim that Etihad planned to take control of Virgin to challenge Qantas was ridiculous.

"What we won't do is get into a position where it means we take control of the business," he said.

"We can't run an Australian airline from Abu Dhabi, nor do we intend to."

Virgin Australia's current major shareholder is Richard Branson's Virgin Group, which has 26% holding.

 

MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS COMMENT & ANALYSIS

date:Posted: October 29, 2014
UAE. Total wealth in the GCC stood at US$ 1.7 tillion in 2014, up 4.75% from 2013; Total wealth in Saudi Arabia and UAE grew by 5%; Global household wealth up 8.3% to US$263 trillion, driven by the US and Europe, according to Credit Suisse Research Institute.
date:Posted: October 29, 2014
UAE. Significant increase in inflows of private capital into UAE in 2014; UAE seen as hub between Africa and Asia; Political stability remains a major factor driving flows; UAE clear winner in the region, as other GCC countries see net outflows of private capital.
date:Posted: October 28, 2014
INTERNATIONAL. Foreign policy is what a president wishes would happen; foreign affairs are what actually happen; the problem that Obama has, which has crippled his foreign policy, is that his principles have not been defined with enough rigor to provide definitive guidance in a crisis.
UAE. Total wealth in the GCC stood at US$ 1.7 tillion in 2014, up 4.75% from 2013; Total wealth in Saudi Arabia and UAE grew by 5%; Global household wealth up 8.3% to US$263 trillion, driven by the US and Europe, according to Credit Suisse Research Institute.
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