Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Germany’s Lufthansa have announced a codeshare agreement abd confirmed a wet-lease arrangement between Lufthansa and airberlin, in which Etihad indirectly holds a 29% stake.
Lufthansa had previously resisted suggestions that it should consider a partnership with one of the Gulf carriers, which it has accused of not respecting a level playing field versus its competitors in Europe.
The codeshare agreement is set to take effect in January 2017, subject to government approval. The German airline will place its ‘LH’ code on Etihad Airways’ twice daily non-stop flights between its home base of Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt and its twice daily non-stop services between Abu Dhabi and Munich, the biggest city in southern Germany.
Etihad will, in turn, put its ‘EY’ code on Lufthansa’s long-haul, non-stop intercontinental services between its home base of Frankfurt, the business and commercial capital of Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as well as Bogota, Colombia.
Under the wet-lease agreement, two Lufthansa subsidiaries — point-to-point carrier Eurowings and network carrier Austrian Airlines — will lease a total of 38 aircraft from airberlin. 33 of these aircraft are to be operated for the Eurowings Group, an additional five aircraft are to be flown for Austrian Airlines. The agreement has a term of six years and becomes effective from February 2017 subject to any regulatory requirements.
Other deals between the two carriers could follow, judging from comments by Etihad CEO James Hogan, who described Lufthansa as “a like-minded, forward-thinking organisation with which we can do strong, meaningful and mutually beneficial business.” Lufthansa’s Carsten Spohr confirmed that the two companies would consider extending cooperation in other areas.