Etihad leaves 100 rivals in its wake to win airline of the year award

Air Transport World magazine’s airline of the year award for 2016 was presented at the Singapore Airshow.

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Etihad Airways beat more than 100 rivals yesterday to win Air Transport World magazine's airline of the year award for 2016.

“This award recognises what we set out to do as an airline 13 years ago – to be safe, profit­able and simply the best,” said James Hogan, the Etihad president and chief executive.

The award from the US-based aviation industry publication was presented at the Singapore Airshow.

Mr Hogan has previously said that legacy carriers such as the Big Three US airlines – American, Delta and United – and Germany’s Lufthansa, were doing their best to stifle new competition.

US airlines have alleged that Arabian Gulf rivals – Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways – have been the beneficiaries of more than US$42 billion in government subsidies, going against the open skies policy which promotes free market practices. The Gulf carriers have all denied these claims.

“Many stones were thrown at us, but we responded calmly and with facts, showing that we bring new competition to markets,” said Mr Hogan.

Speaking in Singapore, the Etihad president said that Etihad, together with its Indian subsidiary Jet Airways, has 21 per cent share of outbound flights originating from India.

This month, Jet posted a record quarterly profit for the three months to the end of December, attributing it to low fuel prices and high passenger numbers. The airline reported a net profit of 4.67 billion rupees (Dh252.7 million) compared with 631.1m rupees a year earlier. The results marked a third consecutive profitable quarter.

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