Abu Dhabi steps up as Etihad sheds subsidiaries

Abu Dhabi has taken a significant step towards building an aviation eco-system in the emirate, apparently trying to emulate neighbouring Dubai’s success in creating a major economic revenue-generator.

Abu Dhabi
Golden opportunity: Abu Dhabi aims to establish an aviation eco-system. Picture: Wikimedia Commons/FritzDaCat.

Abu Dhabi-based holding company, ADQ, will be the new home for six subsidiaries of Etihad Airways. Two more Etihad subsidiaries are moving to Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC).

The transition, which is still under way, sees Etihad Engineering, Etihad Airport Services Cargo, Etihad Airport Services Ground, Etihad Aviation Training, Etihad Secure Logistics, and Etihad Technical Training transferring to ADQ.  

They will form part of a new aviation company within ADQ, making them part of the holding company’s wider mobility and logistics portfolio, which includes Abu Dhabi Airports and AD Ports Group.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airport Services Catering will join ADNEC’s catering business, Capital Hospitality, while Etihad Holidays will become part of ADNEC’s tourism promotion business, Tourism 365. 

The departures mean that Etihad Airways effectively becomes a standalone company.

“This agreement will allow us to place 100% of our focus on Etihad Airways to capitalise on recovering travel demand,” explained Etihad Aviation Group CEO, Tony Douglas.

The aim appears to be a duplication of neighbouring Dubai’s policy of establishing an aviation eco-system that will make a major contribution to Abu Dhabi’s economy as it diversifies away from hydrocarbons. 

Dubai has had considerable success with its longstanding policy of building an integrated aviation sector, which today contributes a remarkable 30%-plus of the emirate’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Subsidiaries such as Etihad Engineering and Etihad Aviation Training have grown significantly in recent years. Both now take on significant amounts of third-party work in the MRO and aircrew training sectors respectively.  

“Employees currently working for the subsidiary businesses will transition…to a new company under ADQ or ADNEC,” an Etihad spokeswoman explained. “We are working hand-in-hand to ensure that the process is managed as seamlessly as possible for all involved – staff, customers, suppliers and business partners.”

ADQ’s CEO, Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, added: “With the proposed addition of Etihad’s experienced aviation support businesses to our new dedicated aviation company, ADQ is primed to develop an integrated aviation platform.

“We are well-positioned to unlock the growth potential of these aviation services businesses.”

Alan Dron

Alan Dron

Alan Dron is air transport editor at Arabian Aerospace for which he has written since its launch.