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.”


Leaders descend on Beijing for Bloomberg problem-solving forum

Updated 21 November 2019

Leaders descend on Beijing for Bloomberg problem-solving forum

  • The two-day event aims to encourage solutions from the private sector to some of the big challenges the global economy faces today
  • Some 500 senior leaders will attend the gathering, of which about 200 will come from Chinese institutions

Thought leaders from the business world and the global political scene are descending on the Chinese capital Beijing for the New Economy Forum (NEF) run by the information and media giant Bloomberg.

The two-day event aims to encourage solutions from the private sector to some of the big challenges the global economy faces today — trade, climate change, technology and financial volatility. It will also prioritize issues of inclusion, urbanization and governance.

Justin Smith, chief executive officer of Bloomberg Media, told Arab News — which is a media partner for the event — that some 500 delegates would attend the forum, with about 200 coming from institutions within China.

“The reason we’re bringing people together is to produce a platform for discussion between people who represent the new global economy. There is a whole new class of people from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America who are not represented well in the ‘legacy gatherings’ that take place, which are typically more American and European oriented.

“The idea is to enable people at a principle level — chief executives, ministers, leaders — to have substantive conversations to find solutions to global problems and help mitigate the big issues the world faces. This is not just a talking shop,” he said.

Some 500 senior leaders will attend the gathering, of which about 200 will come from Chinese institutions. “There will be a big Chinese involvement, but this is because of how important China is in the global economy. This really is a one-of-a-kind gathering,” Smith said.

The opening keynote will be delivered by a senior member of the leadership of the Peoples Republic, whose identity has not been officially disclosed amid tight security at the conference venue outside Beijing city center.

While the issue of trade wars between China and the US will be a big issue at the gathering, Smith said that it was not the most important one. “This is not a US-China gathering — it is a global gathering located in Beijing,” he said.

Americans attending the event include former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, as well as Hank Paulson, who was Treasury secretary during the global financial crisis, and Janet Yellen, former chair of the US Federal Reserve.

There is a significant delegation from the Middle East, including Saudi business leader Lubna Olayan, as well as executives and policy-makers from other Arabian Gulf countries.

“The Middle East’s role in the new economy is critical. It has increasingly deep ties with China, but also has strong links with Europe and the West. They are in between western capitalism and state capitalism,” Smith said.