Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Etihad and Airberlin More Than a Partnership

Etihad Airways has boosted its stake in Air Berlin from 2.9% to 29.21% and signed an extensive code share partnership that covers all Airberlin's extensive European operation and Etihad's extensive global network.

The deal provides Airberlin with needed cash and Etihad access to Germany and Europe.

Not wanting to read too much into this, one cannot but wonder about a few things:

- Etihad already code shares with AA, Malev and S7 who are Oneworld partners and now Airberlin who     
  will join Oneworld in early 2012, an interesting alignment with the alliance.

- This arrangement will place Etihad in the backyard of Lufthansa, Air Canada's partner in Star Alliance and 
   one of the greatest critics of the GCC global carriers (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways). Remember the 
   spat between the UAE and Canada over additional traffic rights to Canada; well, maybe just maybe, this is  
   Etihad's quiet way of paying back. Between Emirates A380 services to Hamburg and Munich and this  
   partnership, Lufthansa is surely uncomfortable, to say the least.

Regardless of all the speculation, this is a win win deal with both partners benefiting and almost 
makes Oneworld the preferred alliance in case Etihad is interested in joining. 

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