The ownership of Etihad Aviation Group (EAG), the parent company of Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi International), has switched to ADQ, an Abu Dhabi state-controlled sovereign wealth fund. Abu Dhabi's Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs issued a statement late on Tuesday, October 18, confirming the change. EAG was wholly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.

In another statement, the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office said the switch was designed to strengthen the emirate’s position as a global aviation hub.

"Earlier this year, EAG’s ancillary businesses were transitioned into ADQ to create a new integrated aviation support services company, ushering in a new wave of growth for the sector," the statement said. "EAG will continue its aspiration to be a leading global airline that delivers a best-in-class customer experience, unrivalled services and care for its guests, as part of ADQ’s aviation portfolio."

Set up in 2018, ADQ is one of three local sovereign wealth funds and the most active dealmaker of the trio. Earlier this week, ch-aviation reported on ADQ moving to take control of fixed-wing operator Abu Dhabi Aviation. ADQ describes itself as a "holding company with a broad portfolio of major enterprises, spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi's diversified economy."

"With Etihad joining ADQ’s mobility and logistics cluster, we are well positioned to develop a globally competitive and integrated aviation portfolio to enhance Abu Dhabi’s connectivity and overall value proposition," said ADQ CEO Mohamed Alsuwaidi.

Aside from Etihad Airways, EAG's subsidiary business units include Etihad Aviation Training, Etihad Business Connect, Etihad Cargo, Etihad Engineering, Etihad Guest, Etihad Holidays, and Etihad Secure Logistics. ADQ's existing aviation interests include Abu Dhabi Airports, ADQ Aviation & Aerospace Services Company, and equity in Wizz Air Abu Dhabi (5W, Abu Dhabi International).

The acquisition comes as Etihad Airways wraps up a five-year turnaround plan and recently reported the highest half-yearly profit in its 18-year history. After years of losses, the airline recorded a 1H 2022 core profit of USD296 million amid buoyant cargo demand and a strong rebound in passenger numbers as Covid-19-related travel restrictions eased. The airline is now flying to 63 destinations in 42 countries.