Etihad Airways will suspend its Abu Dhabi – Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) flight effective March 25 2018 which be the end of the Winter schedule. The national airline of the United Arab Emirates claimed the route will become commercially unsustainable following American Airlines’ unilateral decision to terminate its codeshare agreement with Etihad.
American Airlines had on June 29th, served notice to both Etihad Airways and oneworld fellow member Qatar Airways of its decision to end the codeshare marketing agreements it had with both the middle-east airlines, effective end of business March 24, 2018. American has been protesting the alleged government subsidies to these airlines which the US carriers believe provide an unfair advantage.
The release from Etihad goes on to welcome a possible reversal of the termination decision and the business benefits the airline brings to the United States, but for now, it looks like the writing is on the wall.
This is the second US route the airline is suspending. In June, the airline announced suspension of its San Francisco service effective October 29, 2017, the end of the Summer 2017 schedule.
Balance text of the Etihad Airways release
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said: “The unfortunate decision by American Airlines to terminate a commercial relationship that benefited both carriers has left Etihad with no choice but to suspend flights between our Abu Dhabi home and Dallas/Fort Worth.
“We are open to American Airlines reversing its decision to cancel our codeshare agreement so that Etihad Airways can continue the route and together protect and support American national interests and global connectivity while driving commercial value for both airlines.”
Etihad Airways has invested heavily in the DFW route since its launch in December 2014. The route commenced with three flights a week and was upgraded to a daily service in February 2017, providing travellers in the US and across the airline’s network with access to more US cities through American Airlines’ primary hub. More than 235,000 travellers have flown on the route since its launch. Almost half of Etihad Airways’ DFW customers connect on US codeshare flights operated by American Airlines.
Mr Baumgartner added, “The cancellation of the Dallas route is one of several adjustments that we are making to our US network in 2018 in order to improve system profitability. Further changes are possible as we monitor the full impact of the American Airlines codeshare cancellation on summer 2018 bookings.
“Etihad Airways is grateful to the state of Texas, its authorities, including the Mayor’s offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, DFW International Airport, local businesses, the travel trade, and the travelling public for their partnership throughout the years of our operation.”
According to independent research by Oxford Economics, in 2016 Etihad Airways contributed US$3.8 billion to the US economy, supported more than 30,000 American jobs, and brought 280,000 additional visitors to the United States. These visitors, who travelled from growing markets historically ignored by US carriers and partners, contributed US$1.9 billion to the US economy and supported an additional 22,000 American jobs.
Etihad Airways is also a major customer of widebody aircraft built by the Boeing Company, with firm orders for 71 GE-powered Boeing 787s and 25 Boeing 777Xs, both of which will support the airline’s fleet renewal programme. All of the airline’s First Class seating, as well as The Residence on the Airbus A380, is built by US based aircraft cabin interior manufacturer B/E Aerospace, now part of Rockwell Collins. In 2012, Etihad Airways also signed a deal valued at more than a billion US dollars with aviation computer technology provider Sabre Airline Solutions.