Etihad has built up its reputation on the allure of the A380. With the aircraft on the chopping block and Etihad continuing to struggle, it’s time to merge with Emirates.
Emirates loves to sell the bling (golden showers and all…), but I’d argue that the even more premium product is on the Etihad…as long as you fly the A380.
First Class Apartments? Residence? White glove butler service? Those are Etihad distinctives. Oh yes, and Etihad has onboard showers in first class as well and a superior business class product throughout much of the fleet compared to Emirates.
But the rest of the Etihad fleet? I mean, it’s alright…but the brand itself was built on the A380. And now the future of that aircraft in the Etihad is under review.
Reuters reports that Etihad is now considering retiring its fleet of A380s, which would join the growing list of airlines that are suspending or retiring their A380 subfleets. Furthermore, Etihad may cancel its A350-1000 order, leaving it with 777s and 787s for longhaul operations.
Will Etihad Merge With Emirates?
Etihad and Emirates have tremendous route overlap. When I suggest that Etihad merges with Emirates, be sure that I am not talking about merging as an equal partner. Rather, I’m talking abbot Emirates taking over Etihad assets, hopefully keeping some pilots and crew members, but putting Etihad out of its financial misery.
Two airlines in one country, despite the politics, do not make sense. Dubai World Central is a beautiful new airport that can accommodate travelers from both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Now merger may not be the answer. Perhaps Etihad should just go out of business. While it is possible Etihad could go the way of Gulf Airways in Bahrain and just shrink to a manageable size, the UAE simply does not need both carriers. Don’t the staggering losses Etihad reports each year make that clear enough?
I love Etihad. The uniforms. The in-flight service. Competition is good as well and it is nice to have a choice of flying Emirates or Etihad. But if Etihad retires its A380, it drives a dagger through its very soul. If it cancels its A350 order, it cancels its future. As much as I’d love to continue to fly Etihad, I just don’t see a way forward. Emirates should act quickly.