Etihad to open lounges to economy class passengers for a fee

Etihad is to open up its lounges to economy class passengers for a fee. (AFP)
Updated 22 June 2017

Etihad to open lounges to economy class passengers for a fee

DUBAI: 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 on Thursday, 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 ($101) and will depend on how much time is spent in the lounge, an Etihad spokesman 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.”
Passengers traveling in the three-room suite available on Etihad’s Airbus A380s, dubbed ‘The Residence,’ will not be charged.
Rival Emirates said in January it would allow economy class passengers who are frequent flyer members to pay to access its lounges. That followed an earlier decision to introduce fees for advanced seat selection for economy passengers.
Other changes at Etihad include introducing a bidding system for economy passengers to pay to have up to three empty seats next to their own, following similar systems in place at some other airlines.
“Airlines are increasingly asking what they have and do not sell but could,” Horton said. “Airlines have been allowing passengers to bid for upgrades but guaranteeing an empty seat next to you is still catching on.”


$8bn blow to Erdogan as investors flee Turkey

Updated 09 July 2020

$8bn blow to Erdogan as investors flee Turkey

  • Overseas holdings in Istanbul stock exchange are at lowest in 16 years

ANKARA: Foreign capital is flooding out of Turkey in a massive vote of no confidence in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic competence.
Overseas investors have withdrawn nearly $8 billion from Turkish stocks since January, according to Central Bank statistics, reducing foreign investment in the Istanbul stock exchange from $32.3 billion to $24.4 billion.
As recently as 2013, the figure was $82 billion, and foreign investors now own less than 50 percent of stocks for the first time in 16 years.
“Foreign investment has left Turkey for several reasons, both internal and external,” Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, told Arab News.
“Externally, investors fled riskier assets like emerging markets during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those flows are returning, but investors are being much more discerning and Turkey does not seem so attractive.”
In terms of internal factors, Thin said that Turkish policymakers had made it hard for foreign investors to transact in Turkey. “This includes real money clients, not just speculative.
“By implementing ad hoc measures to try and limit speculative activity, Turkey has made it hard for real money as well. Besides these problems, Turkey’s fundamentals remain poor compared to much of the emerging markets.”
Erdogan allies claim international players are manipulating the Istanbul stock exchange through automated trading, and have demanded action to make it difficult for them to trade in Turkish assets.
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Credit Suisse were banned this month from short-selling stocks for up to three months, and this year local lenders were briefly banned by the banking regulator from trading in Turkish lira with Citigroup, BNP Paribas and UBS
JPMorgan was investigated by Turkish authorities last year after the bank published a report that advised its clients to short sell the Turkish lira.
MSCI, the provider of research-based indexes and analytics, warned last month that it may relegate Turkey from emerging market status to frontier-market status because of bans on short selling and stock lending.
With the market becoming less transparent, overseas fund managers, especially with short-term portfolios, are unenthusiastic about the Turkish market and are becoming more concerned about any forthcoming introduction of other liquidity restrictions.
The exodus of foreign capital is likely to undermine Turkey’s drive for economic growth, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when employment and investment levels have gone down, with the Turkish lira facing serious volatility.