Etihad Airways, one of the Big Three Persian Gulf airlines, has named Philippe Eydaleine head of PA in Europe as it seeks to fend off barriers erected there to block route expansion plans.

eithadHe joined Etihad's Brussels office on June 18 after exiting as policy adviser on EU PA for the French Civil Aviation Authority. Eydaleine also held posts at Air France and for the French State Secretariat for Transport.

For Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, Eydaleine is supposed to woo EU and European government officials and educate them about the benefits the carrier brings to the Continent in regard to jobs, investment and connectivity.

The airline claims its activities in Europe support more than 50K jobs and adds more than $3.7B in additional GDP. Those numbers would grow with a build-up in Etihad routes.

Eydaleine reports to Vijay Poonoosamy, VP-international & PA, in Berlin, site of the carrier's regional headquarters.

The Arab airlines Etihad, Emirates Air and Qatar Airways have been fighting efforts to squash their expansion in Europe and the US.

On June 2, Etihad filed its response the US Depts. of Transportation and Commerce to complaints lodged by Delta, United and American Air.

It categorically denied receiving government benefits, and charged that the American carriers unfairly from $70B in government outlays and from bankruptcy protection.