Etihad and Lufthansa continue to edge closer together. Apparently setting aside their diverging views on airline subsidies, the two groups have concluded a $100m global catering agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). The new partnership was announced in Abu Dhabi on 1st February by Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa Group Chairman and CEO, and James Hogan, Etihad Aviation Group President and CEO.
The four-year catering contract will see Lufthansa’s LSG Sky Chefs provide catering services to Etihad Airways in 16 cities in Europe, Asia and the Americas. This makes LSG the largest provider of catering services to the UAE’s national airline, outside its Abu Dhabi home base.
Etihad Aviation Group and Lufthansa Technik (LHT) also signed an MoU to explore cooperation in MRO services across Etihad Airways and its airline equity partners, and opportunities for synergies with Etihad Airways Engineering.
The two airlines also say they are 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.
The previously announced codeshare between the two airline groups goes on sale today, 1 February, for flights between Abu Dhabi and Germany. Lufthansa will place its ‘LH’ code on Etihad Airways’ twice daily flights between its Abu Dhabi hub and both Frankfurt and Munich. Etihad will 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 in Brazil and the Colombian capital, Bogota as soon as government approval is obtained.
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.
Lufthansa signed an agreement in December 2016 with airberlin, in which Etihad Aviation Group holds a 29% 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. The arrangement was given a green light by Germany’s cartel office on 30th January.