PARIS — Just a few years ago, James Hogan, the chief executive of Etihad Airways, probably would have had trouble scoring a meeting with one of his European counterparts. These days, however, it seems he’s never been so popular.
Like its larger Persian Gulf rivals — Emirates of Dubai and Qatar Airways — Etihad, of Abu Dhabi, once faced stiff resistance from established flag carriers. The big European airlines like Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France-KLM lobbied their governments to restrict the fast-growing Gulf carriers’ access to European airports for fear of losing market share on lucrative long-distance routes, particularly to Asia and the Middle East.