File - A news conference to launch Etihad Regional airline at the airport in Zurich January 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)
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From Serbia to the Seychelles, Etihad Airways Chief James Hogan is being hailed as a savior for his willingness to bail out cash-strapped carriers.Since 2011, the Australian has acquired stakes in seven companies spanning Aer Lingus on Europe's western fringe to Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. on the shores of the Pacific, feeding more traffic via Abu Dhabi, Etihad's desert hub with a population of less than 1 million. What sets Etihad apart is funding from an oil-rich state eager to match the growth of Qatar Airways Ltd. and Emirates, the No. 1 international carrier based less than 100 miles away in Dubai.Founded in 2003, 18 years after Emirates and nine after Qatar Airways, Etihad needed something more than organic growth to gain global scale, according to Hogan, 57 .His first move was to take a 2.99 percent holding in Air Berlin PLC in 2011, lifting it to 29 percent months later.
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