Etihad and Lufthansa extend cooperation

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Etihad Aviation Group and Lufthansa Airlines have unveiled details of a new commercial partnership – and are looking into further cooperation including freight operations.

The two airline groups have concluded a $100 million global catering agreement and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul.

Both are also exploring further cooperation in a number of areas, including freight operations, procurement and passenger services to improve their competitive offering globally and in the European market.

Etihad Aviation Group president and chief executive officer (CEO), James Hogan says: “Partnerships are at the heart of our strategy and remain fundamental for us to compete effectively and efficiently in a complex and competitive global market.

“Our collaboration with one of the aviation industry’s most established and recognised brands is undoubtedly the most significant non-equity partnership with an airline we have ever announced.

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“This partnership is the platform for a much wider strategic collaboration between our two organisations. It demonstrates the commitment of the Etihad Aviation Group Board and Abu Dhabi to our European growth strategy.”

Lufthansa Group chairman and CEO, Carsten Spohr says: “We welcome the opportunity to strengthen our cooperation with the Etihad Aviation Group. Together we can create added value for our customers and shareholders. Partnering with the Etihad Aviation Group fits perfectly with the Lufthansa Group’s global strategy for our passenger airlines and service companies.”

The codeshare agreement will grow both carriers’ global networks, giving Lufthansa increased access to important feeder markets throughout the Indian Subcontinent via Abu Dhabi, while Etihad will gain access into South America through Germany.

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Abu Dhabi-based Etihad will also move its operations at Lufthansa’s hubs, from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 in Frankfurt, and Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 in Munich.

The Lufthansa Group signed an agreement in December 2016 with airberlin, which Etihad Aviation Group holds a 29 per cent stake, for the wet-lease of 38 aircraft. Lufthansa’s point-to-point carrier Eurowings will wet lease 33 aircraft, and Austrian Airlines, a Lufthansa Group airline, will take on five aircraft.

The agreement between Eurowings and airberlin, signed on 16 December, 2016, will last for six years and is slated to begin on 10 February, 2017 when the first aircraft starts operating for Eurowings.