Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways anticipates turning a profit by 2023, when its transformation period comes to an end.
That’s according to its chief commercial officer, who said that Etihad will be a “good, sustainable company” when its five-year turnaround plan comes to an end.
Speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday, Robin Kamark said that 2019 has been “a very good year” and that he is “confident” that the transformation programme is working.
The airline has been reducing its overheads as part of its transformation strategy, which saw losses cut by around 16% last year to $1.3 billion, despite rising fuel costs.
Mr Kamark said: “What we anticipated in the plan is a cautious steady growth, not sort of extraordinary growth.
“We also see that the international business market and the GDP around the world is not growing and it will be a tough economy next year and the year after. We’ve put that into plans and so far we are delivering above what we have planned in the restructuring.”
He added that the company wants to become seen as “the boutique hotel of airlines”.
Drawing on an analogy, he said: “Yes, we want to have the presidential suite – the first class and business class – but we also want to have the standard rooms – our economy class.
“The way we innovate that product type is to give the guest the choice. Even if I’m staying in a standard room I may want some champagne in the room; that is also a possibility if you’re flying with Etihad.”
The company is currently following a plan to transform and upgrade its economy class by offering customers purchasable upgrades.