Abu Dhabi's Etihad restructures to 'leaner' size amid Covid headwinds, CEO says
The airline is taking definitive and decisive actions to adjust its business and position itself as a mid-sized carrier
Etihad, the UAE’s national carrier, is reorganising management structure and implementing “bold changes” that will help it navigate pandemic-driven headwinds battering the global aviation industry.
The new organisational structure will position Etihad as a mid-sized, full-service carrier, concentrating on its fleet of widebody aircraft, the airline said in a statement on Sunday. Etihad’s leaner, flatter and scalable organisational structure will support organic growth as the world returns to flying.
“After our best-ever Q1 performance, none of us could have predicted the challenges that lay ahead in the remainder of this year,” Tony Douglas, group chief executive at Etihad Aviation Group, said.
“As a responsible business, we can no longer continue to incrementally adapt to a marketplace that we believe has changed for the foreseeable future.”
The airline is taking definitive and decisive actions to adjust its business and position as a mid-sized carrier, Mr Douglas said
The aviation industry is facing the worst crisis in its history as the Covid-19 pandemic crushed travel demand and upended the tourism industry. The health crisis severely disrupted passenger operations globally, forcing cash-strapped airlines to ground aircraft and cut jobs or furlough staff.
Although international travel has resumed in most countries, demand remains weak as a result of mandatory quarantine measures and a resurgence of Covid-19 infections globally that have forced many countries into lockdowns again.
Global airlines are expected to burn through another $77 billion of cash in the second half of 2020, as the decline in revenue outpaces cost savings and various government wage subsidy programmes expire, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Etihad said the first stage of its organisational overhaul will see a shift in the operational model that will result in a number of changes to the executive leadership team.
Robin Kamark, chief commercial officer, has decided to leave the airline. Business units within commercial operations will now be separated and will be overseen by Mohammad Al Bulooki, chief operating officer; Adam Boukadida, chief financial officer; and Terry Daly, who will assume the role of executive director of Guest Experience, Brand and Marketing.
In addition to his existing portfolio, Mr Al Bulooki will assume responsibility for network planning, sales, revenue management, cargo and logistics, commercial strategy planning and the carrier's alliances, according to Etihad.
Duncan Bureau, senior vice president of Sales and Distribution, will also be leaving Etihad. Martin Drew, who will be reporting to Mr Al Bulooki, will assume Mr Bureau's portfolio alongside his current responsibilities as managing director for cargo and logistics.
As part of his new role, Mr Daly will lead the marketing, brand and partnerships department, and Etihad Guest, the airline’s loyalty programme, while continuing to oversee the customer experience and service delivery department of Etihad.
Following the departure of Akram Alami, chief transformation officer, the procurement and supply chain department and transformation office will be overseen by Mr Boukadida.
Ibrahim Nassir, the head of human resources, will take additional responsibility for the asset management department.
Mutaz Saleh is also leaving his position as chief risk and compliance officer. Henning zur Hausen, the carrier's general counsel, will take on additional responsibility for ethics and compliance. Business continuity will transfer to Ahmed Al Qubaisi, senior vice president for government, international and communications at Etihad.
The restructuring will "allow us to continue delivering on our mandate, ensuring long-term sustainability and contributing to the growth and prominence of Abu Dhabi”, Mr Douglas said.
Updated: November 8, 2020 06:05 PM