Etihad will soon be feeling the pinch far more that it already has been. The AirBerlin Administrators have launch a suit to take back €1.25 billion in unpaid debts that they claim Etihad as principle (but not majority) shareholder and guarantor should pay. These include promises to pay creditors by AirBerlin, based on the understanding that Etihad was underwriting the bills.
A similar case has been suggested in Switzerland over Darwin, and if Alitalia isn’t sold as a going concern, yet more trouble could well be looming over the disastrous equity partner programme overseen by ousted Etihad CEO James Hogan.
Etihad is in no small amount of financial distress, selling and laying up aircraft, along with putting pilots on unpaid leave.
The ambitious expansion of the airline with competition all around it is looking highly dubious if not unwise, with dozens of expensive aircraft on order and profitable revenue down in a tight market, largely seen as being grossly over capacity in the Gulf states.