Filter in or out as many as 200 cities, as well as hotel and car rental class and meals of the day and watch as the per-diem calculator automatically adjusts per diems to your program. Drill down into cost breakdowns and export the results.
Olympia London - 26-27 February 2020
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel - March 11, 2020
etc.venues: Monument at 8 Eastchap - March 26, 2020
Etihad's Kamark and Frascogna talk:
Etihad Airways chief commercial officer Robin Kamark and Americas VP Vincent Frascogna spoke with BTN assistant editor and staff writer Dawit Habtemariam about Etihad's growth strategies.
BTN: Are you seeing growth in corporate business?
Kamark: We have a steady, good position on the
corporate side, but when it comes to the growth side, we have slight growth in
total revenue in the group. We are sort of cautious when it comes to certain geopolitical
issues, but so far we haven't seen any influence on the revenue turnover from
Frascogna: The U.S. market has been strong for us.
Abu Dhabi [is] one stop to really anywhere. As a result, [corporate business]
from the U.S. into the UAE and into the Indian subcontinent and the rest of the
Gulf Cooperation Council market is strong. We're also seeing good growth across
multiple segments: Defense is big for the GCC and Middle East, but also a lot
of new fintech startups coming into the UAE. That's been pretty strong for us
so far. We also have good relationships with the global TMCs as well as some
local and national U.S. TMCs.
BTN: What is your demand outlook for 2020?
Kamark: We've seen very steady demand in the last of
couple of years. The trade war is difficult between the U.S. and other
countries; the geopolitical stage is uncertain, so there is a bit of caution in
the estimates. [The International Monetary Fund] and [the International Airline
Transport Association] both have lowered their [global economic growth]
predictions. We have performed well in 2019, and we have taken our share, so we
are within our ability to compete.
BTN: What's new with route growth?
Kamark: We have four gateways in the U.S. market—New
York [JFK], LAX, Chicago [O'Hare] and Washington [Dulles]—and we want to secure
our position into those. For New York, we fly the Airbus A380, and we are phasing
other aircraft into the system. We also want to increase the frequency we have
with those four gateways. Europe has been a good market for us, so that is the
first expansion we want to have on a structural basis, then we are going to
utilize seasonality more than we have historically. This needs to be paired
with the influx of new aircraft, which is ongoing but will peak around 2022-23,
so we have a five-year plan. When all the aircraft have come in, then you have
the possibility for expansion, but we don't want to go back to the good old
days where you expand 10, 15, 20 percent. We want it to be sustainable and
We are investing a lot in distribution, in the terminals in Abu Dhabi to have a state-of-the-art hub, fleet and new aircraft. We will be the third-largest 787 operator in the world, with one of one of the youngest fleets when the transition is finished."
BTN: What's your distribution strategy?
Kamark: Very simple, actually. We want to be
available in as many channels as possible, but we want to be present in the
most efficient channels. If a customer comes to us and says, "I want to
buy in that channel and not that online channel," we will be available in
that indirect channel. If you ask me, do we want to exclude certain
distribution channels? Not necessarily, but we will incentivize our customers
to go through the most efficient channels, if they want to do so. If they have
other views, we will be present there, but we will not fund that distribution
BTN: You've avoided airline alliances and pursued
your own partnership strategy. Has your strategy been validated?
Kamark: The question of alliances and partners is
becoming stronger. We are open to different ways of joining partnerships and/or
joining alliances. Etihad tried to establish its own alliance by investing in a
number of airlines. We have significant ownership still in some, but that strategy
for a number of reasons didn't work out. You can go into partnerships
bilaterally, trilaterally, joint ventures. But [they] need [to] be on the right
terms for Etihad.
BTN: What are the advantages and disadvantages of
being the smallest Gulf carrier?
Kamark: I don't see many disadvantages. We want to be
the boutique hotel of airlines. We are investing a lot in the product portfolio
on ground and flights. We are investing a lot in distribution, in the terminals
in Abu Dhabi in order to have a state-of-the-art hub and in fleet and new
aircraft. We will be the third-largest [Boeing] 787 operator in the world. We
will have one of the youngest fleets in the world when the transition is
finished. That is, for us, quality. If you judge us on size, we will always be
number three, but we will fight for number one when it comes to quality of the
carrier. Take the A380. We have a four-class concept, and the
Residence [luxury class] beats even private flying. We have the first class,
which has been voted the world's best first-class product. We have a very good
business-class product and a very good economy [class], and on that basis we
can compete with whomever.
BTN: What are your expectations for Air Arabia Abu
Dhabi, the low-cost carrier you recently
launched with Air Arabia?
Kamark: That's too early. In a five- to 10-year
perspective, there is probably no surprise that we think the LCC segment in the
Middle East will grow. We want to be part of that, but it will be a good arm's
length from the new LCC to Etihad. If there are some synergies down the road,
then we will explore them, but this for us is a proactive way to take part in
further growth in the region.
BTN: What are the advantages of Abu Dhabi as a
connection point for corporate travel?
Kamark: First of all, it's a beautiful place. For
even a stopover for leisure or the corporate side, you will experience the best
holiday of your life. Our network is actually very efficient. We have a good
network to those places that we fly, and we fly to most continents, even
Africa, Australia, the U.S., Asia and Europe. We have fairly big [flows] into
Frascogna: It's also an increasing destination in its
own right for meetings, conferences and events. The facilities are second to
none. It has tons of exhibition spaces, conference spaces and events. Abu Dhabi
International Airport offers U.S. [Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance],
which means that passengers, similar to traveling out to Canada through the
Bahamas, would actually clear U.S. customs and immigration in Abu Dhabi. After
a 14- to 15-hour flight to the U.S., you come straight off the aircraft,
collect your bags and you're out of the airport. There are no queues.
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