Abu Dhabi state carrier Etihad’s parent company has appointed Antonoaldo Neves as its new Chief Executive Officer, replacing Tony Douglas, after the emirate’s government transferred Etihad’s ownership to wealth fund ADQ, ADQ said.Douglas, Etihad’s CEO since 2018, who ADQ said has decided to pursue another unspecified opportunity, will serve as an adviser to the board of ADQ Aviation and Aerospace Services Company, ADQ said in a statement.
Neves was CEO and a board member of TAP, Portugal’s national carrier, from July 2017 to September 2020, according to his LinkedIn.
Etihad scaled back its ambitions after it spent billions of dollars to ultimately unsuccessfully compete in building a major airport hub in United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi.
It began a five-year turnaround plan in 2017 after a strategy of buying stakes in other airlines collapsed, contributing to billions of dollars in losses.
“Tony has led Etihad through some of its most challenging times and has successfully turned the airline into a profitable and sustainable business over the past five years,” Etihad Chairman Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa said in the statement.
Neves said in the statement he was excited for his role at Etihad, “a global well-known brand in the industry”, and said he was confident it would continue “its journey of sustainable growth.”
Douglas, under whose tenure Etihad trimmed its ambitions and started reorganising as a mid-sized carrier focused on point-to-point traffic, said he was proud to have served as chief executive.
The smallest of Abu Dhabi’s three main sovereign wealth funds, ADQ has emerged as one of the region’s most active dealmakers. It began in 2018 as a holding company for government assets and has been consolidating its portfolio, privatising some assets and making strategic acquisitions to build “national champions”.
On September 18 it said Abu Dhabi’s government has transferred ownership of Etihad Aviation Group to ADQ as part of its efforts to “transform Abu Dhabi into a global aviation hub”.