Etihad chief operating officer Mohammad Al Bulooki steps down

John Wright will serve as interim COO as airline conducts a global talent search for a permanent replacement

Mohammad Al Bulooki joined Etihad Airways in 2015 as an executive vice president and chief commercial officer. Photo: Etihad Airways
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Etihad Airways’ chief operating officer Mohammad Al Bulooki has stepped down from his role, according to the UAE’s national carrier.

John Wright will serve as interim chief operating officer and guest officer, Etihad confirmed to The National.

Mr Wright was previously vice president of network, airports and cargo operations at Etihad from 2013, the airline said.

“We can confirm that Mohammad Al Bulooki is stepping down from his position as COO to pursue other interests,” an Etihad spokesperson said.

“This follows a long and storied career at Etihad, where he held several managerial and executive roles since 2015.”

The airline said it would conduct a global talent search for a permanent replacement for Mr Al Bulooki.

Mr Al Bulooki joined Etihad in 2015 as an executive vice president and chief commercial officer, according to his LinkedIn account.

By 2018, he was the airline’s chief operating officer.

As chief operating officer, he was responsible for core areas including hub and network operations, revenue management, sales, network planning and alliances, flight operations, technical, catering, ground handling and cargo operations, his LinkedIn account stated.

In 2022, he joined Quint, a project linking the metaverse with the real world, becoming chairman of its board of directors.

He has also worked in many roles with Abu Dhabi Airports from 2008 to 2015.

Mr Al Bulooki joined Etihad from the post of chief commercial officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, a position he had held since 2011.

Etihad Airways' chief executive Antonoaldo Neves shared an internal document with staff about the announcement at the end of March, according to a report by travel industry website Skift.

“As we navigate through a period of remarkable growth and expansion, I have an important update to share regarding our leadership team,” Mr Neves wrote.

The memo stated that after many years of dedicated service to Etihad, Mr Al Bulooki had decided to step down from his role to pursue new challenges.

“Mohammad has been an integral part of our journey since the inception of our company,” Skift reported, quoting the document.

“From being onboard the inaugural Etihad flight in 2003 to playing a pivotal role in Etihad’s growth and development, both within the company and as part of the wider Abu Dhabi aviation ecosystem, his contributions have been invaluable.”

Etihad Airways recorded its second consecutive annual profit in 2023, as it carried more passengers amid a continuing post-coronavirus travel boom.

Net profit jumped to Dh525 million ($143 million) last year, up from Dh92 million in 2022 (excluding a pandemic-related grant), Etihad Airways said.

Total revenue reached Dh20.3 billion, up 11 per cent annually, as passenger revenue grew while unit costs fell by 7 per cent.

The airline carried 14 million passengers last year, 40 per cent more than in 2022. As a result, passenger revenue soared to Dh16.6 million, up from Dh12.6 million a year earlier.

Passenger load factor, a measure of how well an airline is filling available seats, rose to 86 per cent last year, from 82 per cent in 2022.

The airline expects to exceed last year's annual profit in 2024 and is preparing for a potential listing as it pursues an ambitious growth strategy between now and 2030, its chief executive told The National in March.

Updated: May 08, 2024, 9:47 AM