If James Hogan of Etihad hadn’t already resigned, then he should have done so now, with the news that Alitalia is putting itself up for sale
. The government is taking bids on the struggling airline in the next two weeks.
In 2014, Hogan bought 49% of Alitalia, promising Etihad would turn around the Italian airline. No one is surprised at the turn of events. This isn’t being clever ex post facto. Anyone with any knowledge and experience in aviation said the strategy was doomed ab initio.
Etihad’s partner strategy is in tatters. Air Berlin, in which it also owns 30%, saw losses balloon last year as the umpteenth restructuring took hold. And Etihad has poured hundreds of millions of euros into Air Berlin. Now, Alitalia, on which it has also spent a fortune, has failed.
In short, Etihad’s only partnership successes are with small airlines like Air Serbia and Air Seychelles — both tiny airlines that Etihad could dominate. When it came to big carriers like Air Berlin and Alitalia — let there be no more “emperor’s new clothes" — the results has been abject failure.