Etihad CEO shuts down rumours of Emirates merger

Published: 30 September 2020 - 9 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas has addressed the rumours of a possible merger with Dubai’s Emirates Airline, reported sister title Aviation Business Middle East.

Speaking on the carrier’s new in-house podcast series, Douglas described rumours of a potential merger between the two aviation titans as “nothing other than an obvious question that people will probably continue to ask me”.

“If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question, I guess if Tim Clark [president of Emirates] was given a dollar for every time he’s been asked the same question, between the two of us we’d be able to resolve the balance sheet challenges that airlines everywhere have got at the moment,” he said.

“The reality is it’s a predictable and obvious piece of speculation, so there’s no way of closing it down other than by saying what a ridiculously ludicrous question it is. Having said that, because it’s such an obvious question, the reality is as simple as, it would only ever be facilitated by the two shareholders, and I, and to the best of my knowledge Tim, knows not of any dialogue whatsoever.”

During the podcast, Douglas touched on the subject of travel between the UAE and Israel. He did not shut down the idea, going as far to reveal that the carrier has already considered the connection.

“It probably caught all of us as with a surprise,” he said, referring to the news that the UAE and Israel had relaxed tensions. “We’ve already been in dialogue and I see there’s nothing other than great opportunity to explore the means by which we can give a direct air corridor from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi. So, I’ll keep you posted.”

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