by Peter High, published on Forbes
Etihad Aviation Group is the fastest growing airline company on earth. Etihad Airways has grown into a multi-billion dollar behemoth, and the Aviation Group has grown tremendously through its equity investments into the likes of Alitalia, Jet Airways, Air Berlin, Air Serbia, and a host of other airlines.
Robert Webb is the Chief Information Technology Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, and many of the synergies that are believed to be at the heart of making the equity partnerships work will happen through better use of shared systems, technology vendors, and the like. At the same time, Webb has a large vision for enhancing the Group’s guests’ experience through better data analytics among other things.
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Peter High: For those who may not be familiar with Etihad Airways as well as Etihad Aviation Group, please give an overview of each.
Robert Webb: Etihad Airways is the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, headquartered here in Abu Dhabi, and is the fastest growing airline in the world. It is also a broader business: we have an aviation services company, a catering company, a loyalty company, ground handling, and many additional businesses that are part of the core Etihad Aviation Group business.
Additionally, Etihad Aviation Group has invested in airlines around the world. Recently we made a 49 percent investment in Alitalia, the Italian carrier. We are a 36 percent investor in Air Berlin. We are investors in Jet Airways, Air Seychelles, Air Serbia, Virgin Australia, and Air Lingus, as well as Etihad Regional in Switzerland. So we are an airline group that is made up of a number of different airlines.
High: I know that part of the logic of the equity partnership is a desire to get deeper in terms of what is shared, and I know that technology plays a large role in that. Can you talk a bit about the vision for the relationship in creating stronger ties across this group?