Eti­had is get­ting tight-fisted as profit mar­gin dwin­dles

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

ETI­HAD Air­ways is to open up its lounges to econ­omy class pas­sen­gers for a fee and will start charg­ing for chauf­feur ser­vices that had been com­pli­men­tary as it joins ri­vals in look­ing for new ways to boost rev­enues.

The changes, an­nounced yes­ter­day, come amid a strat­egy re­view at the Abu Dhabi car­rier as once rapidly ex­pand­ing Gulf air­lines face tighter profit mar­gins amid over­ca­pac­ity in the mar­ket and tighter cor­po­rate travel bud­gets.

The fee for econ­omy pas­sen­gers to ac­cess the busi­ness class lounge at Abu Dhabi In­ter­na­tional Air­port will start from 370 dirhams (R1 320) and will de­pend on how much time is spent in the lounge, an Eti­had spokesper­son said. It will also of­fer econ­omy class pas­sen­gers paid ac­cess to its lounges at other air­ports around the world.

The changes, ef­fec­tive on July 3, will also al­low busi­ness class pas­sen­gers to pay to use the first class lounges, whilst a pre­vi­ously com­pli­men­tary chauf­feur for busi­ness and first class pas­sen­gers will be­come a paid for ser­vice out­side of Abu Dhabi.

Eti­had will also open up the ser­vice to econ­omy pas­sen­gers.

Will Horton, se­nior an­a­lyst at Aus­tralian avi­a­tion con­sul­tancy Capa, said chauf­fer ser­vices have al­ways been a high-cost for air­lines so to start charg­ing for them was “not sur­pris­ing.” – Reuters

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